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Change The Naming Of All Life On Earth, Says Scientist


The Scoop:

Scientist  Boris Vinatzer, a researcher and associate professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, wants to add genetic-based names to biological classifications. And he has developed a unique way of naming an organism based on its genetic code. Vinatzer collaborated with a professor in the Department of Computer Science, Lenwood Heath. Both professors expressed interest in helping scientists communicate information faster and more clearly.

The system that they developed would augment the current Linnaeus system of classification in many ways – including permanent, faster and more informative naming, and faster identification of new pathogens – applying to ALL life on Earth.

“Genome sequencing technology has progressed immensely in recent years and it now allows us to distinguish between any bacteria, plant, or animal at a very low cost. The limitation of the Linnaeus system is the absence of a method to name the sequenced organisms with precision.” ~ Boris Vinatzer

The Effect:

– Since the name would be based on genetic code, the organism would never need another name.

– Since the name given to it would contain all its information, the organism could easily be compared and identified with similar life types.

– Since names would be given based on a system, new names could be given on a much faster time frame.

As soon as the sequence was known, the organism could be named.

The Results:

Virginia Tech is submitting a patent describing the naming scheme. Vinatzer and his collaborator Lenwood Heath founded ‘This Genomic Life Inc.’, which will license the invention to develop it further. Heath oversaw the development of the bioinformatic pipeline to implement the system.

He was interested in collaborating with Vinatzer because of the potential to empower scientists to communicate accurately with one another about biological systems. If implemented, the consequences for information sharing will surely be extensive though it is impossible to say whether this DNA naming system will come to be.

“I work in computation, so having the opportunity to impart my knowledge by ordering the organic world through numbered sequences of DNA was fascinating. The mathematical world and the living world are a lot more closely related than we think.”

~ Lenwood Heath

Source : eurekalert


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