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Biochemical evidence pertaining to the taxonomic relationships within the family Chamaeleonidae

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Relationships among representative species of the family Chamaeleonidae were investigated using two different biochemical approaches: starch gel electrophoresis at 18-21 presumptive loci was used to establish the relationships of relatively closely allied species and the quantitative immunological technique of microcomplement fixation (MC'F) was used to probe more distant phylogenetic relationships. Antisera were made to serum albumin of the African Chamaeleo quilensis and the Madagascan Chamaeleo pardalis. Our results are compared to phylogenetic hypotheses based on other characters (Klaver, 1981a; Klaver and Böhme, 1986). The most important conclusions of this study are that 1) the Chamaeleonidae form an old group, dating back into the Cretaceous, and 2) the genus Chamaeleo as recognized by Mertens (1966) is paraphyletic. Geological estimates of the probable time of separation of Africa and Madagascar are compared to estimates from the "albumin molecular clock".

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Taxonomic Zoology, University of Amsterdam, Mauritskade 57, P. O. Box 4766, 1009 AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2: Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, 208 Mueller Laboratory, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, U.S.A.


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