Thursday, August 24, 2006
Scientists at Texas Tech University argue that defining mammalian species based on genetics will result in the recognition of many more species than previously thought present. This has profound implications for our knowledge of biodiversity and issues based on it, such as conservation, ecology, and understanding evolution. Their study is published in the latest Journal of Mammalogy.
The classical definition of species was proposed by Ernst Mayr in 1942, defining it as reproductively isolated groups of organisms. According to this study, the problem with applying this concept is that it is hard to observe mating and to know whether there is interbreeding between populations and thus creation of hybrid species. Traditionally, species have been recognized based on physical characteristics, although it has been assumed that species differences are inherited and thereby reflect genetic differences.
Study researchers Robert Baker and Robert Bradley define "species" based on genetic data.
The above news release is based on the paper "Speciation in mammals and the genetic species concept"
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