April 24, 2006

Computational aspects of systematic biology

Lilburn, Harrison, Cole and Garrity survey the resources currently available to systematic biologists, and outline some steps forward to data integration and interoperability.

The barriers between databases, and between databases and applications need to be reduced. One giant step towards such interoperability will be the institution of methods to tame the nomenclature issues so that biologists can ensure that the names they use are correct or, if not, that they can find the correct name along with the history of labels associated with the organism they are interested in. The automation of identification will also free researchers to apply their intellectual energy to the exploration of new areas in systematics and biodiversity. The discovery of new species and novel, deep-branching lineages equivalent to phyla and the need to discriminate among organisms below the species level are certain to be drivers of future developments in computational systematic biology.

The ability of computational approaches to adapt to new discoveries, present clear depictions of alternative classifications and integrate disparate data types relevant to the classifications, will play a key role in the surveys of the natural world.

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[permalink] Posted April 24, 2006.

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