As the name of the genus Pantoea (“of all sorts and sources”) suggests, this genus includes bacteria with a wide range of provenances, including plants, animals, soils, components of the water cycle, and humans. Some members of the genus are pathogenic to plants, and some are suspected to be opportunistic human pathogens; while others are used as microbial pesticides or show promise in biotechnological applications. During its taxonomic history, the genus and its species have seen many revisions. However, evolutionary and comparative genomics studies have started to provide a solid foundation for a more stable taxonomy. To move further toward this goal, we have built a 2,509-gene core genome tree of 437 public genome sequences representing the currently known diversity of the genus Pantoea. Clades were evaluated for being evolutionarily and ecologically significant by determining bootstrap support, gene content differences, and recent recombination events. These results were then integrated with genome metadata, published literature, descriptions of named species with standing in nomenclature, and circumscriptions of yet-unnamed species clusters, 15 of which we assigned names under the nascent SeqCode. Finally, genome-based circumscriptions and descriptions of each species and each significant genetic lineage within species were uploaded to the LINbase Web server so that newly sequenced genomes of isolates belonging to any of these groups could be precisely and accurately identified.
AbstractMost prokaryotes are not available as pure cultures and therefore ineligible for naming under the rules and recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP). Here we summarize the development of the SeqCode, a code of nomenclature under which genome sequences serve as nomenclatural types. This code enables valid publication of names of prokaryotes based upon isolate genome, metagenome-assembled genome or single-amplified genome sequences. Otherwise, it is similar to the ICNP with regard to the formation of names and rules of priority. It operates through the SeqCode Registry (https://seqco.de/), a registration portal through which names and nomenclatural types are registered, validated and linked to metadata. We describe the two paths currently available within SeqCode to register and validate names, including Candidatus names, and provide examples for both. Recommendations on minimal standards for DNA sequences are provided. Thus, the SeqCode provides a reproducible and objective framework for the nomenclature of all prokaryotes regardless of cultivability and facilitates communication across microbiological disciplines.
In prokaryotic taxonomy, a set of criteria is commonly used to delineate species. These criteria are generally based on cohesion at the phylogenetic, phenotypic and genomic levels. One such criterion shown to have promise in the genomic era is average nucleotide identity (ANI), which provides an average measure of similarity across homologous regions shared by a pair of genomes. However, despite the popularity and relative ease of using this metric, ANI has undergone numerous refinements, with variations in genome fragmentation, homologue detection parameters and search algorithms. To test the robustness of a 95–96 % species cut-off range across all the commonly used ANI approaches, seven different methods were used to calculate ANI values for intra- and interspecies datasets representing three classes in the
. As a reference point, these methods were all compared to the widely used blast-based ANI (i.e. ANIb as implemented in JSpecies), and regression analyses were performed to investigate the correlation of these methods to ANIb with more than 130000 individual data points. From these analyses, it was clear that ANI methods did not provide consistent results regarding the conspecificity of isolates. Most of the methods investigated did not correlate perfectly with ANIb, particularly between 90 and 100% identity, which includes the proposed species boundary. There was also a difference in the correlation of methods for the different taxon sets. Our study thus suggests that the specific approach employed needs to be considered when ANI is used to delineate prokaryotic species. We furthermore suggest that one would first need to determine an appropriate cut-off value for a specific taxon set, based on the intraspecific diversity of that group, before conclusions on conspecificity of isolates can be made, and that the resulting species hypotheses be confirmed with analyses based on evolutionary history as part of the polyphasic approach to taxonomy.