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

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Fri Jul 26 17:00:09 CDT 2019


I know of a paper that defined a new genus based solely on DNA features.
It did contain an explicit statement that the genus was distinguished by
the length of the ITS region.  However, the length of the ITS region is
highly variable in the group, so it wasn't a very good choice - actual
sequences would have been better.  Also, they didn't do the taxonomic
research - there's an objective senior synonym and several subjective
senior synonyms.  In fact, the clade is distinguished by a combination of
shell and anatomical features as well as by DNA; it's just that the
DNA-only paper wasn't very good.


On Fri, Jul 26, 2019 at 5:42 PM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

>  Thomas,
> I was in a bit of a hurry when I sent my last reply to your attempted
> reinterpretation of the Code so as to allow the DNA only approach, but here
> is my more considered view: While it is obviously true that abbreviations
> are shortened forms of words, and therefore arguably also themselves words,
> it is also true that T, for example, is not an abbreviation for thymine,
> but rather the symbol for thymine, in the same way that H is the chemical
> symbol for hydrogen. Symbols are arguably not words.It is also not relevant
> that the paper makes a general verbal comment in regard to what KIND of
> characters will be used to differentiate species. The code requires that
> the actual differentiating characters be stated in words. Otherwise authors
> could get away with saying something like "the diagnostic characters used
> to differentiate species are those which are most obvious in the
> illustrations". Clearly, this would not be considered to be code
> compliant!If the commission has any integrity left, it will declare this
> work to be unavailable, as there is wiggle room in the code to do so (as
> above) and it needs to be done as the work only adds to instability by
> possibly renaming already described taxa using a different kind of
> character that will be difficult to reconcile with earlier descriptions in
> the genus, thus multiplying names unnecessarily and giving a possibly false
> impression of biodiversity in the group. We simply cannot allow authors to
> disregard already described species in a group and start naming everything
> as if it were new!Cheers,Stephen    On Friday, 26 July 2019, 05:02:29 pm
> UTC, Adolf Ceska via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>  Fungus Rhizopogon kretzerae was described as a new species only from its
> DNA sequence. Furthermore, the DNA was isolated from the root tips of pine,
> Pinus ponderosa
> See http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/ben516.html &
> http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/516/ben_dxvi_plate.pdf (Plate 3) for details.
>
> Adolf Ceska,Victoria, BC, Canada
>
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-- 
Dr. David Campbell
Associate Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017


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