Microbial taxonomy in the post-genomic era: Rebuilding from scratch?

Cristiane C. Thompson, Gilda R. Amaral, Mariana Campeão, Robert A. Edwards, Martin F. Polz, Bas E. Dutilh, David W. Ussery, Tomoo Sawabe, Jean Swings, Fabiano L. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial taxonomy should provide adequate descriptions of bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic microbial diversity in ecological, clinical, and industrial environments. Its cornerstone, the prokaryote species has been re-evaluated twice. It is time to revisit polyphasic taxonomy, its principles, and its practice, including its underlying pragmatic species concept. Ultimately, we will be able to realize an old dream of our predecessor taxonomists and build a genomic-based microbial taxonomy, using standardized and automated curation of high-quality complete genome sequences as the new gold standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-370
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Archaea
  • Bacteria
  • Evolution
  • Genomics
  • Microbes
  • Open access
  • Taxonomy


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