[Annelida] Re: Pleijel et al.: Voucher specimens for molecular phylogenetic studies

Mary Petersen via annelida%40net.bio.net (by polychaete1 from gmail.com)
Tue Jun 24 03:49:07 EST 2008

Hi Fred and colleagues, and others interested in good science,

Thanks for your much needed protest! We don't seem to have access to the
paper here - a pdf file would be greatly appreciated.

It comforts me to see that I am not the only one who has complained about
this. I earlier (before my return to USA in mid-December 2004) had
repeatedly asked GenBank why they did not request that data be tied to
extant specimens or that at least localities for the sequenced material be
given, and was told that they could not request such information! My reply
was "how could they consider it responsible NOT to request it?".

Most of us are aware that especially "well-known" species are often
misidentified and that locality- and habitat would at least narrow the field
of possibilities. The demise of the "cosmopolitan" status of far too many
species ought to prove that a bar code alone is not enough - we also need to
be able to examine the specimens (or ones collected at the same time and
place) if necessary.

I also agree that also in ecological papers, literature used to identify the
species should be specirfied. One can always use the most cited publication
as default and list others as necessary.

While revealing the exact locality of animals sought as trophies might cause
problems, such concerns should not provide an excuse for ignoring these data
for ALL species. Re keeping part of the sequenced specimen(s), in cases
where the small size (e.g., meiofauna) means destruction of the entire
animal, it is usually possible to get more than one specimen from an area.

I sincerely hope your joint plea will make a difference and encourage
GenBank to reconsider their policy and make your requests requirements.
Thanks again for your efforts.

Best wishes,


Dr. Mary E. Petersen
Scholar in Residence, Polychaeta
Darling Marine Center, University of Maine
193 Clark's Cove Road
Walpole, ME 04573-3307, USA

Tel.: +1 (207) 563-3146 ext. 222
polychaete1 from gmail.com
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