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[Killietalk] RE: Species aren't always so easy to distinguish....
....true true, the DNA is not an infallible guide.....
Just reminded of the "red wolf" controversy--the question being whether red wolves in the southwest were a true species deserving of endangered species act protections, or just a local cross between coyotes and gray wolves, and not a true species deserving any type of protection: despite anatomical studies and DNA work, the controversy continues....or at least was still raging last time I read about it.
And that's assuming you can agree on the meaning of the term species. I took a graduate seminar in evolutionary biology at berkeley where we spent several weeks just discussing the meaning of "species".
--diane brown in st. louis
>Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 10:11:08 -0500
>From: Chris <cgraseck at optonline_net>
>Subject: RE: [Killietalk] arnoldi story
>To: "'killifish discussion list'" <killietalk at aka_org>
>How does one differentiate between two closely related species. I don't
>believe that there is any magic number of restriction fragment length
>polymorphisms (RFLPs) that determines species. If there were it would
>take all the fun out of taxonomy. Different species have different
>numbers of RFLPs between them depending on how broad the gene pool of
>that species is.
>Some species, like ours (H. sapiens sapiens), have a very small gene
>pool and all members are very closely related. Where as other species
>have much broader gene pools and individuals are not as genetically
>I know you are a dog person so lets use this for instance, according to
>Coppinger, et al, it is not possible to differentiate between Dog, wolf,
>Coyote, and Jackal DNA. The line between species is too vague. They
>share too many genes and the distribution of genes is somewhat random
>among the whole group.
>I'm far from an expert on this so please correct me if I'm mistaken.
>Actually I'm not disagreeing with your hypothesis I just don't think we
>are at the point where we can say this male is not the same species as
>this female when those species are very closely related.
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