Genome-based microbial taxonomy coming of age

Hugenholtz, Philip, Skarshewski, Adam and Parks, Donovan H. (2016) Genome-based microbial taxonomy coming of age. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 8 6: . doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a018085

Author Hugenholtz, Philip
Skarshewski, Adam
Parks, Donovan H.
Title Genome-based microbial taxonomy coming of age
Journal name Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1943-0264
Publication date 2016-03-17
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1101/cshperspect.a018085
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 8
Issue 6
Total pages 12
Place of publication Woodbury, NY, United States
Publisher Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract Reconstructing the complete evolutionary history of extant life on our planet will be one of the most fundamental accomplishments of scientific endeavor, akin to the completion of the periodic table, which revolutionized chemistry. The road to this goal is via comparative genomics because genomes are our most comprehensive and objective evolutionary documents. The genomes of plant and animal species have been systematically targeted over the past decade to provide coverage of the tree of life. However, multicellular organisms only emerged in the last 550 million years of more than three billion years of biological evolution and thus comprise a small fraction of total biological diversity. The bulk of biodiversity, both past and present, is microbial. We have only scratched the surface in our understanding of the microbial world, as most microorganisms cannot be readily grown in the laboratory and remain unknown to science. Ground-breaking, culture-independent molecular techniques developed over the past 30 years have opened the door to this so-called microbial dark matter with an accelerating momentum driven by exponential increases in sequencing capacity. We are on the verge of obtaining representative genomes across all life for the first time. However, historical use of morphology, biochemical properties, behavioral traits, and single-marker genes to infer organismal relationships mean that the existing highly incomplete tree is riddled with taxonomic errors. Concerted efforts are now needed to synthesize and integrate the burgeoning genomic data resources into a coherent universal tree of life and genome-based taxonomy.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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Created: Fri, 01 Apr 2016, 15:13:36 EST by Mrs Louise Nimwegen on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences