nameless taxonomy (Re: Time to update taxonomy?)

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Fri Jan 31 15:17:03 CST 2003

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most systematists who establish DNA profiles
for taxa base their information on data derived from specimens that they either
know, or assume, belong to the taxa in question?  Those I am familiar with
generally start with a non-molecular means of determining which specimens
belong to each taxon, then use these specimens to evaluate DNA-based
relationships among the taxa.  After all, you can't claim that your DNA-based
description is representative of a particular taxon unless you have used some a
priori criteria for placing the individual specimens in that taxon.


"Panza, Robin" wrote:

> >>>You have an organism, you sequence it, and you then link to a database
> that tells you where and when other identical sequences have been obtained,
> and any data that has been linked to those records. <<<
> But in any sexually-reproducing species, there will be no identical
> sequences.  Then it's a matter of finding "similar" sequences, and deciding
> how similar is "similar enough" to be the same species.  Any links I
> establish about the biology of the critter I sequenced only attach to my
> sequence.  Your sequence, from something that most people would assume was
> the same species (based on *morphology*) is not the same as mine, so the
> links you establish to biological notes about your critter don't get
> established as applying to my critter.
> Robin K Panza
> Section of Birds, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
> 4400 Forbes Ave.,   Pittsburgh  PA  15213  USA
> phone:  412-622-3255;   fax:  412-622-8837
> panzar at

Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at
Notre Dame, IN 46556    |

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