From Random Samples, Science 312:31. 7 April 2006.
"A new amphibian family tree—probably the biggest phylogenetic tree ever completed for a class of vertebrates—was unveiled this month and has already attracted some carping from rival treemakers. The project, detailed in 370 pages in the current issue of the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, was instigated by Darrel Frost, an evolutionary biologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He and colleagues from more than a dozen institutions have spent the past 3 years comparing 1.8 million base pairs of DNA from 500 species in the three major amphibian groups: frogs, salamanders, and the earthwormlike caecilians. The analysis yielded 33 new groups and two new families of amphibians, says Frost. For example, a group of frogs ranging from South America to the American Southwest had to be dissolved, as some members proved to be most closely related to an Australian frog and others to American tree frogs."
"“This study has just shed a floodlight on understanding how amphibians are related,” says Claude Gascon of Conservation International in Washington, D.C. But others complain that the shufflings of amphibian relationships by Frost’s team are based on subjective judgments that do not take enough tree-building strategies into consideration. “I think what they have done is irresponsible,” says David Wake of the University of California, Berkeley. Such an effort “threatens to make taxonomy a laughingstock to other biologists.” Wake is part of a National Science Foundation–funded amphibian tree project. Frost, whose effort was funded by NASA, agrees that there are debatable technical issues but suggests that “some people just don’t like change.”"