WHAT IS CHEMOTAXONOMY
Chemotaxonomy is the classification of plants and animals based on similarities and differences in bio-chemical composition. Or The classification of plants and micro organisms based on similarities and differences in their natural products and the biochemical pathways involved in their manufacture.
Also called chemosystematics, it is the attempt to classify and identify organisms according tp demonstrable differences and similarities in their biochemical compositions. Stated simply chemotaxonomy or biochemical taxonomy systems is based on the chemical constituents. In this taxonomy chemical characters help in establishing relationship and in the statistical evaluation of taxonomic information.
The compounds studied in most of the cases are mostly proteins, amino acids and peptides. Compared with morphological characters chemical constituents are often more precisely definable and can be of more fundamental significance for classification purposes. Advocates argue that because proteins are closely controlled by genes and less subject to natural selection than are anatomical features, they are more reliable indicators of genetic relationships.
PRIMARY TOOLS OF CHEMOTAXONOMY
It refers to the use of information about small molecules produced by the action of enzymes. The primary tools chemotaxonomy utilizes in classification of organisms and settlement of taxonomic dispute involve:-
- Protein fractions in electrophoretic techniques.
- Identification of amino acids in chromatography.
- Prevalence of isoenzymes in time materials are all tools employed in chemotaxonomy.
- The occurence of specific pheromones.
- Colour pigments.
- Occurance of toxins.
- Other specific compounds such as venom alkaloids etc.
SOME LIMITATIONS OF CHEMOTAXONOMY
The biochemical approach undoubtedly has been helpful in solving many taxonomical problems but it is also not the ultimate panacea for all cases. Some of the limitations of chemotaxonomy are listed below.
- Biochemical studies are possible only in the organisms which exist today on the planet earth. So far one thing, it cannot aid in tracing the evolutionary history of particular taxa. It also cannot lead to definite judgments with regard to the phylogeny of any organism whose fossil records are inadequate or lacking.
- Like morphological characters, chemical characters too are variable. Hence a proper understanding of the taxonomic relationship of organisms demands comparison of a number of biochemical characters in combination with one another to reveal the diversity of biochemical patterns than a single biochemical character. However most of the biochemical taxonomical works today are based on qualitative and quantitative differences of a single chemical constituent the whole organism or one of their tissues
TECHNIQUES USED IN CHEMOTAXONOMY
The 3 mostly employed techniques of are:-
3) Infrared Spectrophotometry
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