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Posted by pjay on October 15, 2002 at 22:14:19:
In Reply to: a little addition... posted by vvvddd on October 15, 2002 at 20:49:00:
Advances in technology allow taxonomists to identify (split) new species from the current stock and to travel to formerly remote locations where they may find new species (non-splitting)that were previously unknown. A strictly molecular approach would be as fool-hardy as a strictly morphological, besides in many ways molecular approches are morphological. Scale counts and scute ratios have been replaced by base-pairs in DNA sequences that are structures of the organism just like skull sutures. The advantage of molecular techniques are that there are many more characters (e.g. shared inversions etc). The information is generally more conclusive because it avoids the confusion caused by convergent evolution. However, molecular evidence should be based upon comparisons of sequences of multiple genes (mitochondrial and nuclear) with appropriate outgroups and sampling before making strong taxonomic statements.
I do think that morphological characters are very informative in interpreting the molecular data and since you can see them with the eye, hand lens, or microscope, they can be used in the field.
:A lot of the newer taxonomic modifications being made are the result of one of two things:
:1) Critiques of 'subspecies'
:2) Use of newer techniques- Molecular studies versus morphological studies
:Speaking of which, do you (WW) think molecular studies alone are enough to justify some recent taxonomic results? Would a combination of morphological and molecular be better or would morphological be a 'waste' of time?