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Re: Animal 'bar codes' to take over from Latin names
From: Animal 'bar codes' to take over from Latin names
Today 40 leading scientists involved in taxonomy ~ the classification
organisms ~ will meet in New York with the aim of setting up
international bar-coding system using individual DNA as labels
species. Existing species will get their own bar code, too.
DNA is also encoded, using four chemical bases ~ adenine (A),
(C), guanine (G) and thymine (T) ~ and the genomes of most species
millions of these nucleotides long. The sequence for every living
is different, and just using a fraction of the sequence would
than one billion bar code options.
Although new species may have a bar code only, existing species
their Latin names too. The bar code for an African elephant (Loxodonta
africana), for example, would be made up of thick and thin lines
representing the four chemical bases using the letters
AACACTGTATCTATTATTTG, while the domestic cat would be TACTCTTTACCTTTTATTCG.
Dr Richard Thomas, of the Natural History Museum, and co-author
report published this week in Trends in Ecology and Evolution,
"Another advantage of bar codes is that the information is digital
influenced by subjective assessments. It would be reproducible
at any time
and by any person, speaking any language."
Commented HP Orenstein:
Well, this should be fun for palaeontologists....
But the advantage is it meets the most important criteria for
a name: stability and universality. No theoretical, subjective
intervention. Still, there'll always be room for genus and species,
and families and ranks and orders, and the whole panoply of organizing
ideas that allow an easier grasp by minds more in tune with a
kind of narrative than with an agglomeration of capital letters.
Just means in the listing of species, those 'belonging' to paleontologists
will have a section of the page designated Terra Incognita.
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