Toward unification of taxonomy databases in a distributed computer environment.
All the taxonomy databases constructed with the DNA databases of the international DNA data banks are powerful electronic dictionaries which aid in biological research by computer. The taxonomy databases are, however not consistently unified with a relational format. If we can achieve consistent unification of the taxonomy databases, it will be useful in comparing many research results, and investigating future research directions from existent research results. In particular, it will be useful in comparing relationships between phylogenetic trees inferred from molecular data and those constructed from morphological data. The goal of the present study is to unify the existent taxonomy databases and eliminate inconsistencies (errors) that are present in them. Inconsistencies occur particularly in the restructuring of the existent taxonomy databases, since classification rules for constructing the taxonomy have rapidly changed with biological advancements. A repair system is needed to remove inconsistencies in each data bank and mismatches among data banks. This paper describes a new methodology for removing both inconsistencies and mismatches from the databases on a distributed computer environment. The methodology is implemented in a relational database management system, SYBASE.