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

Michael Heads m.j.heads at gmail.com
Thu Jul 25 17:33:18 CDT 2019


Stephen: you say 'all we have is one very superficial habitus photo and a
DNA sequence'. A DNA sequence is pretty important.
The paper is a valuable contribution in insect-plant relations, and the
nomenclature is useful. if I want to discuss, say, restriction to legumes,
I can cite all these new standardised, binomial names easily, e.g.
Zelomorpha willsflowersi Meierotto,  known from three species of Erebidae
feeding on young leaves of Fabaceae.... In most molecular papers, you don't
get any new formal names, so if you want to discuss their amazing results
you often have to refer to 'the molecular clade including samples 2, 31 and
14'. (or species 2, 31 and 14).

Kirk: you say 'This is just another instance of technology driving science
at the expense of the established principles upon which science is supposed
to be based'. Which established principles?


On Fri, Jul 26, 2019 at 10:16 AM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

>  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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> --
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
> Curator of Polychaetes
> Invertebrate Zoology Section
> Research & Collections Branch
> Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
> 900 Exposition Blvd
> Los Angeles CA 90007
> Phone: 213-763-3233
> FAX: 213-746-2999
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> Nurturing nuance while assaulting ambiguity for 32 some years, 1987-2019.
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> Nurturing nuance while assaulting ambiguity for 32 some years, 1987-2019.
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-- 
Dunedin, New Zealand.

My books:

*Biogeography and evolution in New Zealand. *Taylor and Francis/CRC, Boca
Raton FL. 2017.
https://www.routledge.com/Biogeography-and-Evolution-in-New-Zealand/Heads/p/book/9781498751872


*Biogeography of Australasia:  A molecular analysis*. Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge. 2014. www.cambridge.org/9781107041028


*Molecular panbiogeography of the tropics. *University of California Press,
Berkeley. 2012. www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520271968


*Panbiogeography: Tracking the history of life*. Oxford University Press,
New York. 1999. (With R. Craw and J. Grehan).
http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=Bm0_QQ3Z6GUC
<http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=Bm0_QQ3Z6GUC&dq=panbiogeography&source=gbs_navlinks_s>


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