A standardized bacterial taxonomy based on genome phylogeny substantially revises the tree of life

Journal: Nature Biotechnology

Published: 2018-08-27

DOI: 10.1038/nbt.4229

Affiliations: 1

Authors: 7

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Research Highlight

Bacterial tree of life gets a makeover

© ROBERT BROOK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© ROBERT BROOK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

A phylogenetic analysis of 120 genes found across bacterial species has prompted a radical redrawing of the tree of life.

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia used DNA sequence data obtained from bacteria in the environment to produce the most accurate taxonomy of the bacterial kingdom to date.

Fixing the evolutionary tree necessitated moving the positions of more than half of all species within the bacterial hierarchy. The resulting tree extensively subdivided some lineages and amalgamated others, yielding 99 major branches grouped into six main clusters.

“We have given bacterial classification a complete makeover,” said study author Donovan Parks in a press release.

The genome-based classification system could lead to new evolutionary insights while also helping in future studies of microbial DNA data.

Supported content

  1. Nature Biotechnology 36, 996–1004 (2018). doi: 10.1038/nbt.4229
Institutions FC
Australian Centre for Ecogenomics (ACE), UQ, Australia 1

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