Name Changes in Massonia

Kipp McMichael
Thu, 17 Jan 2013 21:44:42 PST
  I can understand your frustration over the problems with some of the early molecular systematics studies and their supposed consequences. I would suggest these problems were caused just as much by those apt to over-interpret the significance of a given paper as they were caused by dubious experimental design.
  But DNA is what makes an organism what it is. The morphological characters that underlie "old" taxonomy are only common to the groups of plants dubbed "species" thereby because of the common DNA these organisms share. (If heritance is not the reason a given group of organisms share a common trait, I think everyone would agree they shouldn't be called a biological species at all).
  It may be a while yet until the molecules solve our taxonomic problems (and they will create new ones)...

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> Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2013 19:59:56 -0800
> Subject: Re: [pbs] Name Changes in Massonia
> It is already clear to many that the current application of plant DNA sequencing methods equate to the age-old paradigm of searching under the streetlight. Unfortunately, egos and the pressure to publish overwhelm many attempts to do good science. Already, many, what might be termed 'state-of-the-art', studies have very quickly been shown to be premature or simply wrong at the species/genus level, and yet still papers are being published. I'd also be curious to know whether anyone knows of a mis-identified specimen being recognised from DNA sequencing data?
> If one draws a parallel from human genetic research, which went from organelle sequencing to full genome, it seems people never learn (but you can publish papers pretending that you are trying). Even then, when the full human genome was sequenced, did we learn much? Not really ...
>  T
> > We will one day very soon be defining a species by 
> > its DNA, and the old definitions of "species" -- all of them, and several 
> > were really never very good anyway and all of them had problems -- will be 
> > lost sight of as science focuses on the molecular.
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