Köhler and his coauthors reached their conclusions after examining genetic data on a Madagascan frog family, the Mantellidae, that grew from 143 to 203 species between 1992 and 2003. The investigators compared the sequence of a particular mitochondrial gene in mantellid species recognized at various times from the 19th century to the present. The gene sequences were no more similar in recently recognized species than in long-recognized species, a result that argues again taxonomic inflation as the explanation for the growth. Moreover, the Mantellidae include few subspecies that could complicate an analysis. Köhler and colleagues credit the boost in the number of amphibian species descriptions to new bioacoustic and genetic tools, and urge the continuation and expansion of efforts to identify further examples. They acknowledge, however, that taxonomic inflation might explain the growing number of species in some other animal groups, such as primates and birds.
The complete list of research articles in the August issue of BioScience follows:
- N. Yarlett and J. H. P. Hackstein. Hydrogenosomes: One Organelle, Multiple Origins.
- B-R. Lu and A. Snow. Gene From from Genetically Modified Rice and Its Environmental Consequences.
- K. Nobuta and B. C. Meyers. Pseudomonas versus Arabidopsis: Models for Genomic Research into Plant Disease Resistance.
- I. Valiela and P. Martinetto. The Relative Ineffectiveness of Bibliographic Search Engines.
- J. Köhler et al. New Amphibians and Global Conservation: A Boost in Species Discoveries in a Highly Endangered Vertebrate Group.
BioScience publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles covering a wide range of biological fields. The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is an umbrella organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents over 80 member societies and organizations with a combined membership of over 200,000.