importance of names

Robin Panza panzar at CLPGH.ORG
Wed Jul 24 10:40:17 CDT 1996

There is one biochemist at University of California, Santa Barbara that tells
his students, "I work with S. cerevisiae.  Don't ask me what the S stands for.
I don't know and I don't care."

I have read physiology, biochemistry, and even genetics papers about work on
"Drosophila", no specific epithet.  Which of the dozens of species?  No mention
anywhere in the article.  How can anyone claim that this particular trait is
identical in all species of such a diverse genus?  If they are not identical,
of what use is their paper when no one knows to which species it applies?

With this attitude among our colleages (primarily the "skin-in" contingent), no
wonder that students don't see any reason to learn polysyllabic, unconventional
names!  We need to educate the educators at least as much as the students.

Robin P.
panzar at

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