Section 2

Systematics

• A modern approach to taxonomy is systematics, which analyzes the diversity of organisms in the context of their natural relationships.

• When classifying organisms, scientists consider fossils, homologous features, embryos, chromosomes, and the sequences of proteins and DNA.

• A phylogenetic diagram displays how closely related a subset of taxa are thought to be.

Vocabulary systematics (p. 341) phylogenetics (p. 341)

• Homologous features as well as similarities in patterns of embryological development provide information about common ancestry.

• Cladistics uses shared, derived characters as the only criterion for grouping taxa.

• Molecular similarities, such as similar amino acid or nucleotide sequences, as well as chromosome comparisons can help determine common ancestry.

phylogenetic diagram (p. 341) shared character (p. 342) cladistics (p. 342) derived character (p. 342)

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