High School Student Seeks Help Understanding Phylogenetics and Pogona: Help Needed

A letter in Anole Annals’ inbox. Can anyone help?:

I am a student from xxx High School in New York. As a science research student interested in phylogeny of squamata, I have come across Bayesian Inference quite a lot. I have spent a lot of time researching bayes theorem and how it relates to phylogeny, but have yet to find an article that makes sense to me as a sophomore in High School. Do have an explanation to bayesian inference and how it used in phylogenetic research? Being interested in phylogenetics, I have looked into researching phylogenetic relationships of Pogona based on molecular data. I have yet to find a taxonomic revision of Pogona, the latest one I found only used morphological data, Taxonomy of Pogona (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Agamidae) by Witten in 1994. Do you think this would be a good topic for me? In addition to selecting genera to study, I have had trouble understanding the methodology that goes into phylogenetic studies. For the most part the methodology resembles collecting DNA data through PCR, then bayesian analysis is run using MrBayes. Can you explain to me the process of choosing primers for use in PCR? Can you explain what and how data is inputted into MrBayes? Would you or anyone you may know possibly be interested in assisting me with my research in the phylogeny of squamates?

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

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