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Plant molecular systematics in Latin America: status, realities, and perspectives

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Molecular biology techniques have had a great impact in modern studies of biodiversity across the globe, and they have contributed significantly to our understanding of evolutionary relationships across all kingdoms. Protein and DNA sequence data have provided a seemingly endless amount of characters to be used in phylogenetic studies, and they have allowed comparisons across divergent groups for which it is very difficult to establish morphological homologies. Researchers in Latin America have not escaped this revolution, and in several institutions efforts have been made to begin utilizing them. Economical, social and political factors have both slowed and stimulated the development of molecular systematics and phylogenetics in Latin America. Even though the continent is not homogeneous, and these factors may differ from country to country, some general patterns do exist across the region. In the present document, we will attempt to summarize the status of molecular systematic studies throughout Latin America, analyze which factors have stimulated or slowed down its development, and we will conclude with some suggestions on how to improve the current state of affairs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lewis and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematic Studies, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx,New York 10458, U.S.A. 2: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199 and FairchildTropical Gardens, Coral Gables, Miami, Florida 33156, U.S.A. 3: Instituto de Ecología, Xalapa, Veracruz. México. 4: Departamento de Bioquímica Medica, ICB/UFRJ CCS, Bloco D, subssolo, sala DSS05, 21491-590, Rio deJaneiro, Brazil. 5: Departamento de Botánica, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile. 6: Jardin Botánico de Puerto Rico y Departamento de Biologia, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras,Puerto Rico.

Publication date: 01 May 2004

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