[Annelida] Hirudo and barcoding

J. Kirk Fitzhugh via annelida%40net.bio.net (by kfitzhug from nhm.org)
Wed Apr 18 13:38:34 EST 2007


Rather than asking, 'Is it the same as the type?', the more 
fundamental question to be asked is, 'What do we intend by relating 
the characters of organisms to 'species'?  Until this latter question 
is answered, and is agreed upon by all biologists, the claim that one 
can limit the 'identification of species' to a barcoding approach 
will at a minimum be fallacious.  Barcoding becomes even more 
problematic if species do not themselves have the ontological 
standing of individuals.  If species are not individuals, but rather 
refer to hypotheses, in the same way that all supraspecific taxa are 
hypotheses, then not considering all available relevant evidence in 
the inference of species leaves those hypotheses suspect.  One could 
also question the approach of applying phylogenetic methods to 
species, given that species refer to the actions hybridization among 
organisms, not perpetual branching, unless one is referring to 
obligate asexual, parthenogenetic, and self-fertilizing modes of 
reproduction (in which case any notion of 'species' might not even be 
applicable).  So, it is reasonable that we should continue to call 
into question the rising popularity of barcoding, when sound 
justification for such an approach is lacking.

Kirk

At 11:13 PM 4/17/2007, Rob Blakemore wrote:
>This is also the key issue with barcoding: you may
>get similarity or dissimilarity but the real question, as always, is:
>Is it the same as the type?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Curator of Polychaetes
Invertebrate Zoology Section
Research & Collections Branch
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007

Phone:   213-763-3233
FAX:       213-746-2999
e-mail:   kfitzhug from nhm.org
http://www.nhm.org/research/annelida/staff.html
http://www.nhm.org/research/annelida/index.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  
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