The end of the line for taxonomists - or is it?

Tue Jun 29 21:02:31 CDT 2004

Doug Yanega wrote:

>> A gadget that identifies any species in an instant could transform the
>> way we see life on earth p.32"
> If this refers to Hebert's harebrained scheme to use the COI gene to
> "barcode" all living taxa, taxonomists can ignore it - anyone who
> works enough with sequencing knows that COI is unreliable, and also
> can vary within even a single species, or even a single population,
> making COI completely UNsuitable for taxonomic purposes.

I don't have access to the full text either, but it sounds to me like
but a rehash (?reprinting) of Dan Janzen's utopian exposé of some
weeks ago in NATURE, in which he dreamed up a future handheld
"barcorder" with which to obtain key gene sequences from specimens in
the field, then compare them to known sequences via remote uplink. The
dream also includes an electronic communications credit scheme to make
this a gadget for the masses (not just experts) by offering material
rewards for feeding previously unknown sequences into the databases.

Please don't shoot the messenger, I'm just trying to help you get the

Martin Spies
c/o Zoologische Staatssammlung Muenchen

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