Paleonet: Holotype and specimen [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]. And you thought we were done? No way.

David Campbell pleuronaia at
Fri Aug 31 22:53:12 GMT 2007

> 12.  Have we had a decision on whether or not a designated DNA sequence can
> be a holotype?  Certainly many molecular biologists who do bulk sample
> sequencing (sequence some water, mud or even certain fossil materials
> (desiccated excrement that contains parasites, as in the ground sloth
> material from caves)) can obtain distinct sequences that represent unknown
> species of bacteria, archaea or eukaryotes including tiny animals.   I would
> have no philosophical problem with doing it, although it might be hell to
> work with it later on.

I don't think one can just designate the DNA as a holotype (though I
don't know anything about the bacterial Code).  However, there are
examples out there where a new taxon was described and distinctive DNA
was the only cited feature, e.g. the lymnaeid snail Catascopium
Meier-Brook and Bargues, 2002 (although Starobogatov & Budnikova,
1976, had previously claimed to find suitable morphological
differences to justify a genus based on the same species).

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"

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