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Naming of Bacteria and ArchaeaNaming of Bacteria and Archaea

Naming of Bacteria and Archaea

During the last decades bacterial taxonomy has undergone remarkable changes. Phylogenetic relationships have become an important basis in the classification of bacteria. New categories of information of taxonomic value have become available, e.g. chemotaxonomic markers, DNA base composition, DNA-DNA hybridisation, gene and genome sequencing. These pieces of information are collected and evaluated in a "polyphasic approach". This integrated use of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics had great influence on prokaryotic classification and nomenclature and will continue to do so in the future.

The naming of bacteria is controlled by the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria (Lapage et al., 1992). The correct name of a bacterial taxon is based on:

1. Valid publication

2. Legitimacy

3. Priority of publication.

Since 1 January 1980, priority of bacterial names is based upon the APPROVED LISTS OF BACTERIAL NAMES (Skerman et al., 1980). Names that were not included in the APPROVED LISTS  at that time lost standing in bacterial nomenclature.

Valid publication of new names and new nomenclatural combinations can only be made by publication in the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROCBIOLOGY (IJSEM), either as an original article or in the "VALIDATION LISTS" regularly appearing in that journal. The VALIDATION LISTS constitute valid publications of new names and new combinations that were previously effectively published outside the IJSEM.The prerequisite for the acceptance of a description of a new taxon in the IJSEM is the deposit and free availabilty of the designated type strain in two open collections.

Names not considered to be validly published should no longer be used or should be used in quotation marks (e.g."Bacillus mesentericus") to denote that the name is not validly published.

A more detailed overview of the mechanisms of valid publication of a name according to the Bacteriological Code can be found at: dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijs.0.64780-0.

See also page "Science of Systematics" and "Bacterial Nomenclature Up-to-Date".