Roadmap for Naming Uncultivated Archaea and Bacteria


Alison E. Murray, Desert Research InstituteFollow
John Freudenstein, Ohio State University
Simonetta Gribaldo, Institut Pasteur
Roland Hatzenpichler, Montana State University
Philip Hugenholtz, University of Queensland
Peter Kämpfer, Justus-Liebig-Universität
Konstantinos T. Konstantinidis, Georgia Tech
Christopher E. Lane, University of Rhode Island
R. Thane Papke, University of Connecticut
Donovan H. Parks, Montana State University
Ramon Rossello-Mora, Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies
Matthew B. Stott, University of Canterbury
Cameron Thrash, Northumbria University
Stephanus N. Venter, University of Southern California
William B. Whitman, University of Pretoria
Silvia G. Acinas, Institut de Ciènces del Mar
Rudolf I. Amann, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
Karthik Anantharaman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jean Armengaud, CEA Pharmacology and Immunoanalysis Unit (SPI)
Brett J. Baker, University of Texas at Austin
Roman A. Barco, University of Southern California
Helge B. Bode, Goethe University Frankfurt
Eric S. Boyd, Montana State University
Carrie L. Brady, University of the West of England
Paul Carini, University of Arizona
Patrick S. G. Chain, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Daniel R. Colman, Montana State University
Kristen M. DeAngelis, University of Massachusetts
Maria Asuncion de los Rios, National Museum of Natural Sciences
Paulina Estrada-de los Santos, Instituto Politécnico Nacional
Christopher A. Dunlop, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research

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Nature Microbiology

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The assembly of single-amplified genomes (SAGs) and metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) has led to a surge in genome-based discoveries of members affiliated with Archaea and Bacteria, bringing with it a need to develop guidelines for nomenclature of uncultivated microorganisms. The International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) only recognizes cultures as ‘type material’, thereby preventing the naming of uncultivated organisms. In this Consensus Statement, we propose two potential paths to solve this nomenclatural conundrum. One option is the adoption of previously proposed modifications to the ICNP to recognize DNA sequences as acceptable type material; the other option creates a nomenclatural code for uncultivated Archaea and Bacteria that could eventually be merged with the ICNP in the future. Regardless of the path taken, we believe that action is needed now within the scientific community to develop consistent rules for nomenclature of uncultivated taxa in order to provide clarity and stability, and to effectively communicate microbial diversity.


Bacteriology | Life Sciences | Microbiology



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