Experts also point out that bar codes cannot be integrated with the other major systematics enterprise--the Tree of Life, a peer-reviewed cladogram linking all known phylogenetic relationships. (Bar codes provide too little evidence to justify formal species designations on it.) At best, Hebert's database will exist alongside the tree, superimposing untested "leaves." Hebert claims that despite the obstacles "we're finally tapping into an automated, digital information stream," but others note that cut-and-dry codes seem to overlook the essential meaning of species: ever changing end points in the hands of evolution.
This article was originally published with the title Bending to Bar Codes.