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Opponents of 3-domain hypoth.?

Jonathan Badger badger at phylo.life.uiuc.edu
Thu Oct 20 19:26:15 EST 1994

arlin at ac.dal.ca writes:

>A strong statement is made in Cavalier-Smith's recent review on
>protist taxonomy (Microbiol. Rev. 57, number 4, p. 954).  The subject
>line of this thread suggests that the Woese-Kandler-Wheelis proposal
>is a "hypothesis", but it isn't.  Its a taxonomic proposal to rename
>the archaebacteria, eubacteria and eukaryotes as "Archaea", "Bacteria",
>and "Eukarya", and to establish them as three "Domains", proposed
>as a new taxonomic rank higher than Kingdom.  Cavalier-Smith had
>already proposed a new taxonomic rank higher than Kingdom (he called
>it "Empire"), and argues that there is no reason to change the familiar names
>to the new names, which are misleading about the similarities of organisms,
>as well as being inconsistent with previous usage (i.e., of the word
>"bacteria", which obviously was formerly applied to organisms such
>as "archaeBACTERIA" as well as "euBACTERIA").

I don't get this. Woese-Kandler-Wheelis aren't trying to change taxonomy on
a whim -- they are trying to change it in accordance with the (extremely)
well supported hypothesis that Archaes are more closely related to eukaryotes
than either are the bacteria. Taxonomy should reflect phylogeny -- what good
is it if it doesn't? The only rational reason for rejecting the taxonomic
change is if there is substantial evidence rejecting the three domain
hypothesis as phylogentically incorrect. At present this doesn't seem to be
the case, but I suggest that the detractors of the three domain hypothesis
find data to support their cause if they wish to have it considered.

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