Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do small organisms form species? New paper suggests not ...

Quick post here about a press release about a new paper: New mathematical theory says small organisms may not form species.  Seems that this new theoretical paper might be of interest to people out there. The paper is available openly here:  Not sure quite what to make of this but thought it would be of interest.  The abstract is below:
The rapid advance in genetic sequencing technologies has provided an unprecedented amount of data on the biodiversity of meiofauna. It was hoped that these data would allow the identification and counting of species, distinguished as tight clusters of similar genomes. Surprisingly, this appears not to be the case. Here, we begin a theoretical discussion of this phenomenon, drawing on an individual-based ecological model to inform our arguments. The determining factor in the emergence (or not) of distinguishable genetic clusters in the model is the product of population size with mutation rate—a measure of the adaptability of the population as a whole. This result suggests that indeed one should not expect to observe clearly distinguishable species groupings in data gathered from ultrasequencing of meiofauna.

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