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Plant Variation and Evolutionby David Briggs
Synopses & Reviews
Natural populations of plants show intricate patterns of variation. European botanists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries used this variation to classify different "kinds" into a hierachy of family, genus, and species. Although useful, these classifications were based on a belief in the fixity of species and the static patterns of variation. Darwin's theory of evolution changed this view; populations and species varied in time and space and were part of a continuing process of evolution. The development of molecular techniques has transformed our understanding of microevolution and the evolutionary history of the flowering plants. This revised, extended edition describes the historical background to plant variation studies and considers the remarkable insights that molecular biology has recently given into the processes of evolution in populations of cultivated, wild and weedy species; the threats of extinction faced by many endangered species and the wider evolutionary history of the flowering plants as revealed by cladistic methods.
In an approach neglected by other authors, this book , revealing how a belief in the fixity of species was abandoned in the face of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. In this revised and extended third edition, the authors consider the remarkable insights that recent investigations, often using molecular techniques, have given us about wider evolutionary processes in contemporary populations, inculding the factors likely to lead to the extinction of endangered species.
Considers how the study of variation in plants has developed over the last 300 years.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 438-497) and index.
Table of Contents
Preface; Acknowledgements; Note on names of plants; 1. Looking at variation; 2. From Ray to Darwin; 3. Early work on biometry; 4. Early work on the basis of individual variation; 5. Post-Darwinian ideas about evolution; 6. Modern views on the basis of variation; 7. Breeding systems; 8. Infraspecific variation and the ecotype concept; 9. Recent advances in genecology; 10. Species and speciation; 11. Gradual speciation and hybridisation; 12. Abrupt speciation; 13. The species concept; 14. Evolution: some general considerations; 15. Conservation: confronting the extinction of species; Glossary; References; Index.
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