Barcoding (animal) life

B.J.Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Thu Feb 6 09:32:25 CST 2003

Thanks, I read this last night. Pity that the quotes from microbiology are
from only one side of the arguement....... I will make the following
a) Coleoptera do not form a single group (okay, so what), but the
implication is that the sequence data is relying on the established
taxonomy..... In addition many of the internal branches are fairly short
implying that support would be low, so again the "support" probably comes
from the established taxonomy......
b) if you are identifying taxa which fall within a family then the claims
may be fairly resonable, but where do you place the new member of the
Coleoptera which groups outside any of the existing groups - you probably
end up on the hotline to someone with knowledge of morphology!? Same
probably applies to new genera.
c) Neighbor-Joining and multidimensional scaling..... sounds more like
phenetics and numerical taxonomy. Didn't someone ask whatever happened to
numerical taxonomy recently on this list?
d) the system proposed mirrors what has happened in bacteriology. As was
pointed out in a previous post such a system helps to focus. We routinely
use 16S rDNA as the "first pass" to quickly work out how much time and
effort we need to invest in a new organism. However, this does not mean
that we have done away with the need for experts in areas other than the
molecular work. Yes we have the same problem that molecular work is given
more funding and that systematics is not taught properly (the molecular
evaluation is firmly rooted in systematics and you MUST have an
appreciation of the general framework to work effeciently).

As I was writing this Dirk Albach's post came in - couldn't agree more.

At 09:12 5.2.2003 -0700, Alec McClay wrote:
>If anyone is looking for the actual paper, you can find it as a PDF on
>Hebert's lab web site at
>>Have you read the actual paper (Hebert et al. 2003. Biological
>>through DNA barcodes. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. B 270: 313-322)
>Alec McClay
>Research Scientist
>alec.mcclay at          Alberta Research Council
>Phone (780) 632-8207           Bag 4000, Vegreville
>Fax   (780) 632-8612           Alberta T9C 1T4, Canada

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