DNA sequences provide numerous, potentially independent, characters that can be used study evolutionary relationships between taxa at different taxonomic levels. rDNA sequences (mostly SSU-rDNA) are widely used to infer relationships at higher taxonomic levels whereas more rapidly evolving sequences like ITS (internal transcribed spacer) the D2-D3 expansion zone of LSU rDNA and mitochondrial genes can resolve species complexes and identify distinct populations thus providing an extremely useful tool for ecological an biogeographical research.  The molecular approach also allows comparison of genetic and morphological diversity and may thus provide a handle to study functional biodiversity (adaptive radiation).

    We have collaborated with various teams to reconstruct the radiation of the phylum Nematoda, as based on a phylogenetic analysis of 53 SSU rDNA sequences. Our database now contains more than 100 sequences covering plant-parasitic and free-living taxa only. We are currently focussing on the phylogenetic relations within major pest taxa including cyst (Heteroderidae) and root-knot (Meloidogynidae) nematodes. We expect that the molecular approach will help to unravel the problem of huge phenotypic variation that is seen in some dominant deep sea nematode genera.  We also collaborate with other researchers of our department in implementing sequence analysis in the study of the phylogeny, taxonomy and biogeography of Odonata and various crustacean taxa, including rotifers, branchiopods, copepods and Mysidacea.

For more detailed information on sequencing we refer to Andy's home page