From writing to reading the encyclopedia of life

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2016 Sep 5;371(1702):20150321. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0321.


Prologue 'As the study of natural science advances, the language of scientific description may be greatly simplified and abridged. This has already been done by Linneaus and may be carried still further by other invention. The descriptions of natural orders and genera may be reduced to short definitions, and employment of signs, somewhat in the manner of algebra, instead of long descriptions. It is more easy to conceive this, than it is to conceive with what facility, and in how short a time, a knowledge of all the objects of natural history may ultimately be acquired; and that which is now considered learning and science, and confined to a few specially devoted to it, may at length be universally possessed in every civilized country and in every rank of life'. J. C. Louden 1829. Magazine of natural history, vol. 1: This article is part of the themed issue 'From DNA barcodes to biomes'.

Keywords: DNA barcoding; biodiversity; genomics; species.

Publication types

  • Introductory Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / genetics
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Biodiversity*
  • DNA Barcoding, Taxonomic*
  • Eukaryota / genetics