Genetic Variation and Phylogeny in Nautilus
The origin and evolution of the genus Nautilus have long been obscured by the poor fossil record, by apparent morphological conservatism, and by confusion regarding the taxonomy of the living species. Studies of protein polymorphisms promise a solution to this impasse, since such variation reflects the structure of the genes themselves and should record the molecular phylogeny of the animals more clearly than do phenotypic characters. The preliminary study of the molecular evolution of Nautilus reported in this chapter elucidates some of these long-standing problems in a usefully predictive manner and suggests that they are not beyond full resolution with existing techniques.
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