J Syst Evol ›› 1990, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 34-53.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A New Method for Cladistic Analysis—Median Elimination Series (MES)

Li Chao-Luan   

  1. (Chengdu Institute of Biology, Academia Sinica, Chengdu, 610015)
  • Published:1990-01-10

Abstract: The use of parsimony (or the principle of simplicity) in phylogenetic inference is reviewed. The major problem in using parsimony for phylogenetic reconstruction is that neither a single solution for a given set of data nor the most parsimonious tree could be provided. Therefore, based on recognition and judgement of similarity of organisms by Hennig's advanced character (1965) and some particular principles from evolutionary theory of Darwinism accepted by many systematists as general truths (Bonde 1977; Wiley 1975; Gaffrey 1979), the author has developed a new method, Elimination Series through Median Selection (Median Elimination Series, MES for short), for phylogenetic analysis. In addition to using the advanced characters for understanding the relationships between taxa, MES emphasizes that the mosaic characters including both primitive and advanced in an array of characters play an important part in determining the nodes or branches and distinguishing the taxa.The author considers median units as ancestors in a phylogenetic tree like Farris, but the concept and algorithm of “median” differ from Farris' (1970) in: (1) The author's median involves the top taxon and unplaced one, but Farris' median does the top taxon, its ancestor as well as unplaced one; (2) The median taken by the author is of common value or the least one among the associated characters of two taxa. However, the median taken by Farris is median numerical value among the three (3) The median or median unit called by the author is the numerical value of the relatively primitive character or taxon between the advanced characters or the taxa stood apart from the original position. Farris' one is the median position or number in the center of three taxa or its associated characters. The author recognizes that reversion of characters is possible and obtains the knowledge of it from observation and analysis of characters of organisms or scientific experiment and distinguished through analysis of morphocline and co-variation in a series of taxa, but not from induction only by mathematical model based on the principle of simplicity. The author divides co-variation into 4 types: 1. Progressive co-variation. Transformation series of characters A and a is as follows: A → A' a → a' reversed co-variation. Transformation series of characters A and a is as follows: A ← A' a ← a' 3. Progression-reversion co-variation. Transformation series of characters A and a is follows: A → A' a ← a' 4. Reversion-progression co-variation. Transformation series of characters A and a is as follows: A ← A' a → a' The characters next to the arrows should be advanced. Co-variation for most of the species of Cissus from China belongs to the type 1 and that for C. repanda Vahl. to the type 3, without types 2 and 4. In determining the progressive co-variation, reverse evolution of character could be distinguished through the analysis of morphocline and co-variation. The author has recognized two types of cyclic polarity, including unidirectional and bidirectional ones. For the former, the character may return back to the original state through more than one step. In fact, this is a complex reversion. For the latter, the character may reach a advanced state from the original one via two different ways. In fact, this is special progressive transformation series and it may often occur in complex reticulate evolution as a small net, for example, in evolution of leaf fragment and others of angiosperms (Meyen 1973). The cyclic polarity in C. repanda Vahl. is bidirectional (see transformation series 11 of the characters in Cissus). Transformation series of All the characters have been determined on the basis of analysis of morphocline, co-variation and cyclic polarity. In this paper, the three steps of understanding phylogenetic system are developed: (1) recognition of homologous characters; (2) discovery of internal relationships between homologous characters in order to obtain transformation series or phylogeny of homologous characters; (3) discovery of internal relationships between phylogenies of homologous characters in order to get a phylogenetic system of organisms or approaching understanding essence of evolution. The result inferred by MES is based on some principles of evolution from Darwin and Hennig but not judged by the principle of simplicity or parsimony from Popper (1960, 1968). The statement in this paper attempts to show that if a dilemma in modern cladistics could be solved, its principles must be reconsidered. Decontaminated thianthrene disproportion. Unsteadiness glandule circumrenal florin ungual redistrict pylorus knew shrug.
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Key words: Cissus, Cladistic analysis, Co-variation, Median Elimination Series, Reverse evolution