Who pays for DNA barcoding?

John Wilkins, who apparently didn’t learn the first time, has repeated his ill-informed claim that “Barcoding syphons off money and resources from real systematics.” I have said it before: DNA barcoding has brought in money from sources that never supported systematics (a prime example being Genome Canada). I co-authored some of these grants. I have been in the field with some of the taxonomists who are supported by them. I am around a five minute walk from the world’s major barcoding facility, which hosts systematist postdocs and collaborators and processes material from a large network of taxonomists. Wilkins, on the other hand, gets all his information from critics of barcoding.

4 thoughts on “Who pays for DNA barcoding?

  1. Hurrah – a fellow barcode advocate! Actually, I think we may have met in Guelph in 2005 when I visited from the Natural History Musuem in London where I work on plant barcoding …but I digress. I’m so tired of all this whining about barcoding taking money away from taxonomy. Not only does most barcoding money come from organisations that don’t normally fund taxonomy but also a lot of the money in a barcoding grant (as I’m sure you know) is earmarked for the traditional practice of taxonomy …a barcode is simply another piece of data collected from a specimen. Anyone who claims barcoding is out to “replace taxonomy” with a “simplistic” system of barcodes hasn’t really taken the time to understand what barcoding is. Anyways, I think you will agree there are still a lot of misconceptions and unfortunate semantic problems surrounding DNA barcoding – perhaps I’ll start to do more on my own blog to join you in whallopping them!

  2. I have been intending to write a post (and probably some papers) about barcoding to clear up the misconceptions, but it’s back burner for me as I don’t do barcoding day to day — I just intend to use it as a very helpful method of getting species identified.

    But, long story short, yes there is a lot of misunderstanding, though it seems to be the same claims every time.

  3. Oo, now I’m inspired to write a post about what I perceive to be the most common misconceptions about barcoding and see if they are the same as yours.

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