ResearchBlogCast #11: Using the genome to identify species

ResearchBlogCast 20 Comments
By Dave Munger

ResearchBlogging.orgHow do you define a species? Most people would probably say species are similar organisms that can reproduce sexually to produce viable offspring. But what about organisms that don’t reproduce sexually? Surely they have species too.

Today we’re discussing new research suggesting a different way to define species, using their genomes. It’s an intriguing study that also brings into question the concept of “species” itself.

Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles that have been covered by bloggers on to discuss in podcast form. This week, we’ve decided to try something a little different: we’ll also chat a bit about what’s going on in the science blogosphere.

As always, ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to our podcast to hear our impressions. Here is the article we’re discussing this week:

Birky, C., Adams, J., Gemmel, M., & Perry, J. (2010). Using Population Genetic Theory and DNA Sequences for Species Detection and Identification in Asexual Organisms PLoS ONE, 5 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010609

The report was discussed by Zen Faulkes on Marmorkrebs: Asexual species identifications.

Since this remains an experimental project, we’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on the podcast.



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