Cladistics

The high cost of overspecialization

In their entreaty to bring “all available data” back into the fold of phylogenetic systematics, Quentin Wheeler and colleagues attribute the epidemic of DNA sequence analyses to certain key advantages of DNA data (Nature 496, 295–296, 2013). We suggest another, more basic explanation.

After years of training in understanding taxonomic groups and evaluating complex characters, scientists can find themselves overspecialized in a particular taxon, making them uncompetitive for employment and funding opportunities. Analysing DNA sequence data, which relies less on specialized taxonomic knowledge, does not exact such a high cost.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiaolei Huang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Huang, X., Qiao, G. & Favret, C. The high cost of overspecialization. Nature 497, 40 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/497040b

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.