cummings_2004 - Heredity(2004 93 234235 2004 Nature...

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BOOK REVIEW A book like its cover The Phylogenetic Handbook: A Practical Approach to DNA and Protein Phylogeny Edited by M Salemi and A-M Vandamme. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 2003; 406 pp. d 40.00, hardback. ISBN 0-521-80390-X. Heredity (2004) 93, 234–235. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800475 Reviewed by MP Cummings Molecular evolution and phylogenetics have close inter- dependencies and shared histories, not the least of which is that phylogenetics is now largely dominated by molecular data. These fields have been the focus of numerous books, particularly in the last decade (eg, Hillis et al , 1996; Li, 1997; Page and Holmes, 1998; Graur and Li, 2000; Nei and Kumar, 2000). Relatively recent books in phylogenetics include the magnum opus of Joseph Felsenstein (2004). Thus, a new entry into this field should substantially distinguish itself to provide une raison d’etre . This book does differ in several fundamental characteristics from most other books in the field. First, it is an edited volume, with all the associated strengths and weaknesses. The strengths coming from the contributions of many experts result in the weaknesses of different voices and sometimes contradictory views. Second, the book provides explicit practical instruction in numerous programs used in phylogenetics. This latter feature proves to be the principal strength of this book. While the book by Hall (2004) also provides instruction on the use of programs, The Phylogenetic Handbook covers many more pro- grams, and provides more depth into the coverage of theory. In addition to phylogenetics, this book has chapters covering multiple sequence alignment, detect- ing viral recombination, estimating population genetic parameters from molecular data, and other relevant topics. Organizationally, all but the introductory chapter are partitioned into paired theory and practice sections, sometimes with different authors. While in concept this is an attractive approach, the execution comes up a bit short. This structure leads to some curious
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