[Taxacom] inapplicability of mtDNA barcoding to insects

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at uwosh.edu
Fri Sep 28 07:34:03 CDT 2007

At 07:20 AM 9/28/2007, Schindel, David wrote:
>Ours is a comparative, historical science in which there are no magic 
>bullets.  ... The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL; 
><http://www.barcoding.si.edu>www.barcoding.si.edu) and most barcoders make 
>no claim of infallibility for barcode data.  We claim only their utility 
>in (1) assigning specimens to well-established species (in most cases), 
>and (2) testing our taxonomic (but not phylogenetic) hypotheses.  That is 
>the core mission for barcoding, and we recognize its limitations while 
>developing its strengths.

Hm.  Guess I've been reading press releases from some other bar-coding 
group.  The articles I've seen in the mainstream press (where the general 
public's ideas about our field are formed) pretty much say all else is 
obsolete and barcoding is the answer to all our problems.  If I had a 
nickel for every student and non-organismal colleague who has expressed 
that very view to me, I could retire and not worry about it.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at uwosh.edu
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and 
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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