A sponsored and funded mess, due to the Darwinian obsession with speciation. From ScienceDaily:
New research from Dartmouth College raises questions over how scientists should interpret observed groupings of bacteria. The study advises caution with the assumption that bacterial clusters are always a result of ecological and genetic forces.
The research, appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says random diversification and extinction of cells could organize bacteria into taxonomic units just as effectively as classification based on selection-driven ecological forces.
“A reliable classification system is the key to understanding microbial biodiversity,” said Olga Zhaxybayeva, assistant professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College. “Through our research, we found that organizing microorganisms is even trickier than previously thought.”
Sure. Hear this:
Scientists are currently divided over what factors to consider when classifying bacteria and other microorganisms. Some favor the so-called “periodic selection” model, in which the descendant of the most-fit genotype takes over the population and establishes a new group. Others advocate the “recombination” model, in which the frequent exchange of material between genes within bacterial populations causes organisms to cluster.Paper. (paywall) – Timothy J. Straub, and Olga Zhaxybayeva. A null model for microbial diversification. PNAS, 2017 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1619993114 More.
Does the phrase “pig’s breakfast” come to mind? Oh, never mind. Can’t think why.
See also: Nothing says “Darwin snob” like indifference to the mess that the entire concept of speciation is in