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Naming species

Charles J. O'Kelly okellyc at megasun.BCH.UMontreal.CA
Tue Mar 1 10:18:01 EST 1994

In article <199402281953.LAA00763 at net.bio.net>, CGE at CU.NIH.GOV writes:

[preamble deleted]

|> My questions are: Is there a way to convey a high degree of
|> continuous intra-specific variation without causing confusion by
|> the creation of additional taxa?;

Don't know.  The problem is not confined to protists, the ancient example that
comes to mind is clinal variation in leopard frogs (continuous variation
from New England to Florida, with individuals from opposite ends unable to
breed).  To quote a famous (fictional) detective, "More data please".

|> Is the creation of new species based on molecular data (isoenzymes,
|> immunological cross-reactivity, DNA sequences) alone acceptable,
|> or must there be biological (morphology, niche, growth, etc)
|> differences as well?;

No, molecular data alone is not sufficient for species description amongst eukaryotes.
I know it's being done for prokaryotes, but I suspect these folk will learn the error of their
ways before too long.  And the converse is also true - people with morphological data must
also access biochemical/molecular data prior to describing species.
IMHO, that is :-).

|> Is it rational to expect a pan-protista set of criteria for the
|> recognition of new species or will every group have to be handled
|> separately?

Sorry but no again.  Again IMHO, to try this now is to theorize in 
advance of the data.  Eventually a (probably excruciatingly complex)
solution to the problem will emerge, but for present purposes ad-hoc
solutions will have to do.

|> I do not expect a consensus to emerge but I am interested in
|> hearing other points of view......

$0.02 (to coin a cliche)

|> Graham



Charley O'Kelly
Mad Protistologist
okellyc at bch.umontreal.ca			.sig under contract

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