Re-evaluating prokaryotic species

  title={Re-evaluating prokaryotic species},
  author={Dirk Gevers and Frederick Cohan and Jeffrey G. Lawrence and Brian G. Spratt and Tom Coenye and Edward J. Feil and Erko Stackebrandt and Yves Van de Peer and Peter A. Vandamme and Fabiano Lopes Thompson and Jean Swings},
  journal={Nature Reviews Microbiology},
There is no widely accepted concept of species for prokaryotes, and assignment of isolates to species is based on measures of phenotypic or genome similarity. The current methods for defining prokaryotic species are inadequate and incapable of keeping pace with the levels of diversity that are being uncovered in nature. Prokaryotic taxonomy is being influenced by advances in microbial population genetics, ecology and genomics, and by the ease with which sequence data can be obtained. Here, we… 

Searching for species in haloarchaea

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A continuous species concept for microorganisms is proposed, which adapts to the current knowledge on the huge diversity, variability and heterogeneity existing among bacteria and archaea, and could be extended to eukaryotic microorganisms.

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The need to combine genetic diversity and distinct ecology in an attempt to define species in a coherent and convincing fashion is emphasized, and the resulting data may help to discriminate among the many theories of prokaryotic species that have been produced to date.

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What are bacterial species?

  • F. Cohan
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Annual review of microbiology
  • 2002
These molecular methods suggest that a typical named species contains many ecotypes, each with the universal attributes of species, which is more like a genus than a species.

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Sequence similarity clustering in protein-coding genes is recommended as a primary criterion for demarcating taxa and can be expected to disclose many previously unknown ecological populations of bacteria.

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