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Title: Mode and tempo in the evolution of nematodes
Author: Dorris, Mark
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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Extreme variation exists in hypotheses of the taxonomy, systematics and phylogeny of the phylum Nematoda. That nematodes are important and require a unified systematic approach is not in doubt; of the organisms that are not nematodes, few can avoid their influence one way or another. The vast majority of nematodes are free-living and although they have significant impact on the composition of the biota, have little measured direct impact on humans and thus remain largely unidentified. A notable exception is the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, of which more is known than possibly any other eukaryote. Other nematodes, most notably parasites of plants and animals, have received widespread attention. In between, lie a myriad of life-history, developmental, ecological, structural, and functional relationships waiting to be resolved. This requires phylogeny. The data used to infer this phylogeny must itself be unified from all available reliable sources. In this work, current molecular tools combined with analytical observation are used to address some important junctures in nematode evolution. These are assessed in terms of temporal and spatial radiations inferred by SSUrDNA phylogeny. An objective approach to phylogeny is implemented where no a priori assumptions are made on the data. Phylogenies, and underlying evolutionary models are statistically evaluated. Morphological and ecological corroboration for observed phylogenetic patterns is sought. This combined approach is essential to help reconcile taxonomy with a systematic approach based on an effective consolidated phylogenetic perspective. Special reference is made to Strongyloidoidea and the genus Strongyloides in particular for which a strategy for extraction of quality DNA from formalin fixed Strongyloides samples is implemented.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available