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The lemur revolution starts now: The genomic coming of age for a non-model organism
- Yoder, Anne D.
- Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 2013 v.66 no.2 pp. 442-452
- Primates, biodiversity, biogeography, biologists, gene banks, genetic trend, genome, new technology, phylogeny, scientists, Africa, Asia, Madagascar
- Morris Goodman was a revolutionary. Together with a mere handful of like-minded scientists, Morris established himself as a leader in the molecular phylogenetic revolution of the 1960s. The effects of this revolution are most evident in this journal, which he founded in 1992. Happily for lemur biologists, one of Morris Goodman’s primary interests was in reconstructing the phylogeny of the primates, including the tooth-combed Lorisifomes of Africa and Asia, and the Lemuriformes of Madagascar (collectively referred to as the suborder Strepsirrhini). This paper traces the development of molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary genetic trends and methods over the 50-year expanse of Morris Goodman’s career, particularly as they apply to our understanding of lemuriform phylogeny, biogeography, and biology. Notably, this perspective reveals that the lemuriform genome is sufficiently rich in phylogenetic signal such that the very earliest molecular phylogenetic studies – many of which were conducted by Goodman himself – have been validated by contemporary studies that have exploited advanced computational methods applied to phylogenomic scale data; studies that were beyond imagining in the earliest days of phylogeny reconstruction. Nonetheless, the frontier still beckons. New technologies for gathering and analyzing genomic data will allow investigators to build upon what can now be considered a nearly-known phylogeny of the Lemuriformes in order to ask innovative questions about the evolutionary mechanisms that generate and maintain the extraordinary breadth and depth of biological diversity within this remarkable clade of primates.