Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in Johnsgard & Sibley in CONDOR (March-April 1959) 61(2). Copyright 1959, University of California and the Cooper Ornithological Society. Used by permission


It has been known for more than 50 years that particular proteins characterize every species of plant and animal and that phylogenetic relationships are reflected in protein structure. The first application of this fact to taxonomic studies was by Nuttall ( 1901; 1904) who used the precipitin reaction of immune sera to test degrees of relationship in over 500 species of animals. With refinements in technique have come many more serological studies and the results have justified the statement by Landsteiner (1945) that “chemical differences parallel the variation in structure” and hence are useful in classification.

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