Development of the SeqCode: A proposed nomenclatural code for uncultivated prokaryotes with DNA sequences as type

William B. Whitman*, Maria Chuvochina, Brian P. Hedlund, Philip Hugenholtz, Konstantinos T. Konstantinidis, Alison E. Murray, Marike Palmer, Donovan H. Parks, Alexander J. Probst, Anna Louise Reysenbach, Luis M. Rodriguez-R, Ramon Rossello-Mora, Iain Sutcliffe, Stephanus N. Venter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Over the last fifteen years, genomics has become fully integrated into prokaryotic systematics. The genomes of most type strains have been sequenced, genome sequence similarity is widely used for delineation of species, and phylogenomic methods are commonly used for classification of higher taxonomic ranks. Additionally, environmental genomics has revealed a vast diversity of as-yet-uncultivated taxa. In response to these developments, a new code of nomenclature, the Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes Described from Sequence Data (SeqCode), has been developed over the last two years to allow naming of Archaea and Bacteria using DNA sequences as the nomenclatural types. The SeqCode also allows naming of cultured organisms, including fastidious prokaryotes that cannot be deposited into culture collections. Several simplifications relative to the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) are implemented to make nomenclature more accessible, easier to apply and more readily communicated. By simplifying nomenclature with the goal of a unified classification, inclusive of both cultured and uncultured taxa, the SeqCode will facilitate the naming of taxa in every biome on Earth, encourage the isolation and characterization of as-yet-uncultivated taxa, and promote synergies between the ecological, environmental, physiological, biochemical, and molecular biological disciplines to more fully describe prokaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126305
Number of pages8
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Early online date30 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


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