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

Thomas Pape tpape at snm.ku.dk
Fri Jul 26 18:51:50 CDT 2019


>>> abbreviations are shortened forms of words
I agree.

>>> T, for example, is not an abbreviation for thymine
I disagree.
The authors state that “Nucleotides ... were recorded as diagnostic characters”. That means that their use of, e.g., “TTA” means “Thymine-Thymine-Adenine”. The authors may have been using one-letter abbreviations for the nucleotides and I see no point in arguing that the use of “T” cannot be considered as an abbreviated form of “Thymine” but *must* be considered as a symbol. Indeed, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry uses “T” or “Thy” as symbols for “Thymine”, but it also recognizes that these symbols can be used as abbreviations (https://www.qmul.ac.uk/sbcs/iupac/misc/naabb.html#p22).
The molecular diagnoses are clear, and they would not gain in information content by the abbreviations being written in full.

I do agree, though, that we need to explain or at least to give recommendations in the zooCode how to make a molecular diagnosis Code-compliant.

>>> If the commission has any integrity left, it will declare this work to be unavailable
>>> We simply cannot allow authors to disregard already described species in a group and start naming everything as if it were new!
The ICZN certainly will not declare the work in question to be unavailable based on the quality of its content. This would be both awkward, highly repressive, and beyond our mandate.
It is sometimes seen that authors disregard one or more already described species in a group, for example where the type material is damaged or based on a currently unidentifiable sex or life stage. Also, the ICZN will not deem any names to be unavailable solely because the authors have been “using a different kind of character that will be difficult to reconcile with earlier descriptions”.

The zooCode explicitly avoids restricting the freedom of taxonomic thought or actions.

/Thomas


From: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Sent: 26. juli 2019 23:42
To: 'taxacom' <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>; Thomas Pape <tpape at snm.ku.dk>
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] OMG! DNA only descriptions (with one habitus photo)!

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<mailto: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/ben516.html%20> & http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/516/ben_dxvi_plate.pdf <http://bomi.ou.edu/ben/516/ben_dxvi_plate.pdf%20> (Plate 3) for details.

Adolf Ceska,Victoria, BC, Canada

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