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Unread June 2nd, 2009, 09:57 AM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 174
Unhappy The Death of Taxonomy and Systematics ?

Lamenting the "paradigm shift" in biology from studying the organism to studying the genome. Can't we study both?

Taxonomy and systematics are still being done effectively, but the jobs are drying up.

"... there are fewer and fewer biologists who practice traditional taxonomy, or the collection, description, naming and categorization of organisms through intense study of their physical attributes. In general, the field of taxonomy, or systematics as it is often called, has been leaning towards the molecular end of the spectrum since genetic technology matured in the late 1970s and 1980s, and traditional taxonomic skills have been dwindling as older taxonomic experts retire."
and concludes ...

"Ironically, the demise of taxonomy and systematics might be attributable to its most fervent champions. "I think in the past there's been a tradition in classical taxonomy that it's OK to isolate yourself from the world to work in the museum," says Regier. "There has to be somewhat of a shift in culture." Indeed, because it formed the bedrock of biology for centuries, taxonomy carries with it a lot of perceptual baggage. "It's hard to get over this image of the systematist being just a stamp collector," says Cognato. But nothing could be further from the truth, he says. "Properly done, [traditional taxonomy] gets you out in the field and discovering many new things that wouldn't have been found without them."
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biology, systematics, taxonomy

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