Linguistics: Trees of life and of language.
Title: Linguistics: Trees of life and of language.
Authors: Searls, David B.1 David
Source: Nature; 11/27/2003, Vol. 426 Issue 6965, p391-392, 2p
Document Type: Article
Subject Terms: *DNA
NAICS/Industry Codes: 541710 Research and Development in the Physical,
Engineering, and Life Sciences
Abstract: The dating of ancient languages by a technique called
glottochronology is undergoing a revival, stimulated by the
computational and statistical methods used to tease out evolutionary
relationships in biology. Beneath the surface similarities of this
narrative to the discovery of the DNA double helix lie deeper
connections that have long been observed between DNA and language as
well as between the evolution of species and of languages. As a tool
for inferring family trees of languages, lexicostatistics represented
a departure from historical methods that characterized systematic,
global patterns of change.
Author Affiliations: 1Bioinformatics Division, Genetics Research,
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, 709 Swedeland Road, PO Box 1539, King
of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406, USA.