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We are in the midst of a biological revolution. Molecular tools are now providing new means of critically testing hypotheses and models of microevolution in populations of wild, cultivated, weedy and feral plants. They are also offering the opportunity for significant progress in the investigation of long-term evolution of flowering plants, as part of molecular phylogenetic studies of the Tree of Life. This long-awaited fourth edition, fully revised by David Briggs, reflects new insights provided by molecular investigations and advances in computer science. Briggs considers the implications of these for our understanding of the evolution of flowering plants, as well as the potential for future advances. Numerous new sections on important topics such as the evolutionary impact of human activities, taxonomic challenges, gene flow and distribution, hybridisation, speciation and extinction, conservation and the molecular genetic basis of breeding systems will ensure that this remains a classic text for both undergraduate and graduate students in the field.
David Briggs is Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge. He has a lifelong interest in evolution, genetics, conservation and taxonomy. He is also the author of Plant Microevolution and Conservation in Human-influenced Ecosystems (Cambridge, 2009), which won the British Ecological Society's 2011 Marsh Book of the Year award. Stuart Max Walters (1920-2005) - a former Fellow of King's College, Cambridge - was a renowned taxonomist and conservationist and author/editor of major works on the taxonomy and distribution of European plants, including Atlas of the British Flora, Flora Europaea and The European Garden Flora. He was Director of the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden from 1973 until his retirement in 1983.