2009-02-23Buch DOI: 10.18452/1991
Managing Molecular Taxonomic Data
Biological taxonomy, the description and re-identification of species, is not able to face the current biodiversity crisis adequately: 70-98% of the several million species on our planet are still undescribed, while extinctions take place every minute. In order to overcome the 'taxonomic impediment', it has recently been proposed to speed up the identification of known species as well as the process of species discovery by using short genetic signature sequences, so-called 'DNA barcodes'. During the last few years, hundreds of thousands of DNA barcodes have been assembled. However, little emphasis has so far been given to theoretical considerations concerning the management of these data. Here I address questions on how to handle the data needed in molecular taxonomy (e.g. digital preservation, data quality, annotation, database integration). For this purpose, I analyze the NCBI GenBank database and the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD).
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