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Aharon Oren
from: Molecular Phylogeny of Microorganisms (Edited by: Aharon Oren and R. Thane Papke). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)


There is no official classification of prokaryotes. For the higher taxa there even is no official nomenclature: the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes do not cover taxa above the rank of class. The most commonly accepted division of the prokaryotes in two "subkingdoms" or "domains" (Bacteria and Archaea) and the classification of their species with validly published names in respectively 27 and 2 "phyla" or "divisions" (as of November 2009) is primarily based on 16S rRNA sequence comparisons. This type of classification was adopted in the latest edition of Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology. Alternative classifications have been proposed as well, based e.g. on the structure of the cell wall. Some 16S rRNA sequence-based phyla unite prokaryotes of similar physiological properties (for example Cyanobacteria, Chlorobi, Thermotogae); others (Euryarchaeota, Proteobacteria, Flavobacteria) contain organisms with highly disparate lifestyles. Some phyla based on deep 16S rRNA lineages are currently represented by one or a few species only. Environmental genomics/metagenomics approaches suggest existence of many more phyla based on the deep lineages of 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered. To obtain the organisms harboring these sequences and to study their properties is a major challenge of microbiology today read more ...
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