[Taxacom] OMG! DNA only descriptions (with one habitus photo)!

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jul 25 17:15:51 CDT 2019


 The specimens may not last forever (Brazil Museum fire, etc.), then all we have is one very superficial habitus photo and a DNA sequence for an individual! Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of photos in taxonomy, as you know, but they have to be a good set of diagnostic photos, and I'm picking that if the authors didn't have time to write down a verbal morphological diagnosis for each proposed new species, then they didn't have time to examine the specimens very closely either to determine which characters were important to photograph! This isn't taxonomy!
Stephen

    On Thursday, 25 July 2019, 10:04:16 pm UTC, Thomas Pape via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:  
 
 >>> all we have here is one photo of possibly limited diagnostic value and a DNA sequence for that same individual

This is by itself very useful. And the specimen can be consulted for further documentation.
For many of the new species there are several specimens considered to be conspecific, although these are not documented with neither barcode nor photo. Great baseline data.

Neal quoted Andy Brower for "... simply because species can be identified and publicized on the basis of a few nucleotide differences it does not mean that they should be".
The question is how much (and which kind of) data we think is sufficient to justify the proposal of a scientific species-group name.
No straight answer.

/Thomas Pape


-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom
Sent: 25. juli 2019 23:28
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; Kirk Fitzhugh <kfitzhugh at nhm.org>
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] OMG! DNA only descriptions (with one habitus photo)!

 One of my main worries with this approach is that it seems pretty obvious that they are basing their judgements of species distinctions on a cursory and superficial morphological examination and then assuming that the associated DNA profiles define species! Obviously, however, every individual organism has a different DNA profile, and I doubt that any categorical genetic genetic distance between species applies across the board, so, when all said and done, all we have here is one photo of possibly limited diagnostic value and a DNA sequence for that same individual! This is not taxonomy as we know it! They should have known that DNA really stands for Do Not Attempt!
Stephen
    On Thursday, 25 July 2019, 08:19:46 pm UTC, Kirk Fitzhugh via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:  
 
 Revolutionary? Not at all. Especially given the largely toothless opinions regarding species and taxa overall that permeate biology. This is just another instance of technology driving science at the expense of the established principles upon which science is supposed to be based.


On Thu, Jul 25, 2019 at 12:51 PM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom < taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> https://dez.pensoft.net/article/34683/
>
> Yikes!
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--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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