(RQT) inheritance of properties

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Wed Dec 1 16:41:15 CET 1999

> But there is an inheritance hierarchy that I don't know how to
> handle using W3C's specifications alone. A genus has properties
> values (e. g.flower/petals/color = 'white' ) that MUST be inherited
> by the species in this genus. The properties values of a genus CAN
> be overriden by some species in this genus.

I have no insight on the way it would be handled in XML, but I
believe we must consider that (a) inheritance goes up and down, and
(b) information may be original or virtual.

The genus description is nothing more than the consensus description
of all species placed in that genus. This is true regardless, whether
it is done by computer or a scientist. The type species (the species
to which the genus name is bound) will carry more wheight, some
people may wheigh it very strongly.

             currently placed in GenusX
Species1=101 \
Species2=10U  > synthesized ("summary function") description of GenusX
Species3=10U /

results in a description GenusX=[101)
(1 = a state applies, 0 = does not apply, U = unknown, not yet

Some information, e.g. anatomical or electron microscopy is usually
only obtained from one or few species and then assumed to be true for
all species in the Genus. Thus, information that was passed up, is
now passed down again to species where this has not been studied.
Care must be taken that the information is recognized as being passed
down, it can NOT be simply copied as if it would indeed have been
studied there.

Species1=10 1

Square brackets shall here indicate that the information has been
passed down.

It will often happen that Species3 is transferred to a different
Genus, because the assumption that it belongs to GenusX turned out to
be false. The GenusX description must now be revised, and information
that was passed up from Species3 to GenusX and down to Species1/2
must be removed.

This is a continous dynamic process in science, and must be modeled
on the computer.

However, the Genus description is not necessarily entirely dynamic.
In many cases it will be necessary to copy information from
publication, thus the Genus description may be physical and original
data, in contrast to the virtual descriptions obtained by automatic
synthesis processes.

Gregor Hagedorn                 G.Hagedorn at bba.de
Institute for Plant Virology, Microbiology, and Biosafety
Federal Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)
Koenigin-Luise-Str. 19          Tel: +49-30-8304-2220
14195 Berlin, Germany           Fax: +49-30-8304-2203

Often wrong but never in doubt!

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