13
Jan
09

Phylogeny vs. Taxonomy

Anyone familiar with evolutionary biology is bound to be familiar with phylogenies. I’ve even posted a few on here before. One thing which I’ve been tossing around is a means by which we can classify macroscopic organisms once we have a fairly solid foundation of the phylogenies of these organisms. Something which has always stood out, perhaps because I like numbers, is an alphanumeric classification system with clades being equivalent to various alphanumeric series. This would allow for specific identification of relatedness from a common organism (I’ll pick Agkistrodon contortrix for this demonstration). For example:

Let’s use “AAAAA” to be equivalent to the Agkistrodon genus, whereas “AAAAB” would be the Crotalus genus. The classifications would follow as such:

AAAAA111=Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix

AAAAA112=Agkistrodon controtrix pictigaster

AAAAA113=Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus

AAAAA121=Agkistrodon piscivorous piscivorous

AAAAB111=Crotalus ruber (assuming, for the time, this is the closest related Crotalus species, which it may not be)

AAAAB112=Crotalus horridus (assuming this is more closely related to ruber than any others)

In other words, what this would do, is assign alphanumeric classifications to monophyletic groups allowing us to have more room to play with the names when two populations become isolated with distinctive variation between the two (subspecies)  without losing specificity, and bein flexible enough so that the addition of another value does not influence the appearance of a clade. Elevating a genus clade to a family clade on the basis of variation and diversity does not affect the phylogenetic-based alphanumeric classification.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Phylogeny vs. Taxonomy”


  1. 1 Stacy S.
    January 13, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    It’s all German to me Jared – looks like binary. 😦

  2. 2 jaredcormier
    January 13, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    More like a base-100 filing system; 100^5=10,000,000,000 basal genus names (remember the Greek alphabet) possible, adding the two character numeric species suffix can give you up to species names, far surpassing the <100 million estimates by a factor of nearly 10,000. Names can be added later, instead this is a way to quickly catalog an organism based upon the specific lineage of that organism. For example, say a species is found which branched from the Agkistrodon lineage between A. piscivorous and A. bilineatus from the same common ancestor (a simulatenous three-way split), Instead of naming the organism and explaining to those in the field, the system I am imagining would enable the use of an AAAAA13x species as this imaginary group. I know there are flaws in this model, namely, that we would need as many categories as speciations which have surviving descendants and it is only useful for extant or recently extinct species, however, with recent advances in rapid genome sequencing and publication of sequences, comparisons between organism genomes will become much easier, enabling a system similar to this one.

  3. January 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    “..species as this imaginary group.”

    Wow! We’re ‘down to’ classifying imaginary animals now!

    Just, “Wow!”

    (signed) Homo lambsnavyrumus

  4. 4 jaredcormier
    January 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Misquoting me doesn’t help…

  5. 5 Stacy S.
    January 14, 2009 at 12:11 am

    So it’s like phyla,family,genus, etc… classification ???
    (Now remember, be nice. I’m a dumb ass – oops I mean – Dumas)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Join the best atheist themed blogroll!

RSS Adventures in Ethics and Science

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Blag Hag

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS denialism blog

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS ERV

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Greg Laden’s Blog

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Laelaps

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Lawful Good Wonk

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Pharyngula

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Tetrapod Zoology

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS White Coat underground

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Older stuff

wordpress stats

%d bloggers like this: