"Digitized Diversity": Museums "or" Conservation ?

Peter Rauch peterr at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Dec 26 10:33:27 CST 2000

There was an interesting special section of brief articles in
SCIENCE 289(5488):2305-2314, 29 Sep 2000, on "Bioinformatics for

In SCIENCE 290(5499):2073-2074, 15 Dec 2000, in Letters, several
authors noted that "the [Sept] articles ... contained the
potentially perilous implication that historical biodiversity
data are sufficent to address contemporaneous issues in
conservation. The [Sept] section's content emphasized data from
natural history collections...."

The Letters authors wish to distinguish between biodiversity
databases ("based on historical data from collections") and a
biodiversity conservation database ("regularly updated with
current information and used to support conservation

Authors and interviewees of the original reports reply.

It's good to see some of this work be reported on so visibly and
the needs discussed. Of late, we've seen the term
"bioinformatics" applied almost exclusively to (I would say
"co-opted" by) the field of genomics (where the notions are also
very much needed). Take a look.

Peter R

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