Barcoding (animal) life

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Tue Feb 4 11:12:35 CST 2003

By reliably identifying organisms, you mean like forensic DNA typing? Is
that what taxonomists do? Identify organisms?

I think taxonomists do a lot more. As to money, we taxonomists have 250
years of the Linnaean endeavor behind us and have generated or mediated
great economic gains for the human race. A billion dollars is to laugh at.
(Oh, that's slightly rhetorical, since my 2004 research budget is presently

Sure, I agree with you that molecular and morphological work can proceed
simultaneously. The fact that it is mainly molecular work that is now funded
(grants, positions) indicates that such synergy must be rare and getting
rarer. The Planetary Biodiversity Inventory now supported by the U.S.'s
National Science Foundation is a worthy exception.

_Everybody_ ducks my concerns about the statistical basis behind reliability
of phylogenetic estimation. Your response, Andrew, ("Yawwn") is at least

Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Mitchell [mailto:MitchellA at NU.AC.ZA]
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Barcoding (animal) life

We *sample* taxa not only
because of limits of time and money but because of the law of
diminishing returns. We want to be able to reliably identify organisms
and as an added bonus work out their evolutionary history, not count all
stomata on all specimens in the herbarium just for the fun of it.

Molecular and morphological/phenological/ecological etc. work can
proceed simultaneously.


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