Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Numerical taxonomy


The origin of limes and lemons has been a source of conflicting taxonomic opinions. Biochemical studies, numerical taxonomy and recent molecular studies suggested that cultivated Citrus species result from interspecific hybridization between four basic taxa (C. reticulata, C. maxima, C. medica and C. micrantha). However, the origin of most lemons and limes remains controversial or unknown. The aim of this study was to perform extended analyses of the diversity, genetic structure and origin of limes and lemons.

Concepts: DNA, Taxonomy, Citrus, Orange, Citron, Rutaceae, Cultivated plant taxonomy, Numerical taxonomy


We argue that the mathematization of science should be understood as a normative activity of advocating for a particular methodology with its own criteria for evaluating good research. As a case study, we examine the mathematization of taxonomic classification in systematic biology. We show how mathematization is a normative activity by contrasting its distinctive features in numerical taxonomy in the 1960s with an earlier reform advocated by Ernst Mayr starting in the 1940s. Both Mayr and the numerical taxonomists sought to formalize the work of classification, but Mayr introduced a qualitative formalism based on human judgment for determining the taxonomic rank of populations, while the numerical taxonomists introduced a quantitative formalism based on automated procedures for computing classifications. The key contrast between Mayr and the numerical taxonomists is how they conceptualized the temporal structure of the workflow of classification, specifically where they allowed meta-level discourse about difficulties in producing the classification.

Concepts: Scientific method, Taxonomy, Categorization, Taxonomic rank, Biological classification, Alpha taxonomy, Systematics, Numerical taxonomy