Cover Image

HARDBACK
$39.00



View/Hide Left Panel

species, and Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology is well on its way to processing ≈28,000 insect species. Thus, even in its earliest stages, at only two institutions, the republication program has already reached the hypothetical 10% level.

A new global systematics initiative is under way on three fronts. The first is the all-species program, which aims to measure the full breadth of biodiversity in all of the three recognized domains, the Bacteria, Archaea, and Eucarya, by using new and future technology. The next is the Encyclopedia of Life, expanding the all-species program by providing an indefinitely expansible page for each species and containing information either directly available or by linkage to other databases. The final and rapidly growing body of knowledge is the Tree of Life, the reconstructed phylogeny of life forms in ever finer detail, with particular reliance on genomics.

The upper levels of biological organization, from organism to ecosystem, the mapping and analysis of biodiversity, and the development of the Tree of Life all of the way from genes to species will eventually amount to most of biology. These proportionately still-neglected domains, therefore, offer intellectual stock of substantial growth potential to universities and other research-oriented organizations that invest in them now. It is still relatively easy to provide leadership at the cutting edge of biology extended beyond the molecular and cellular levels of a few species. The cost would be low, and the returns to scale incalculably great.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement