Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Microbiol. 2011 Jan;19(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2010.10.003. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

A species concept for bacteria based on adaptive divergence.

Author information

1
Department of Microbial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), 6666 GA Heteren, The Netherlands. michiel.vos@nioo.knaw.nl

Abstract

Bacterial strains are currently grouped into species based on overall genomic similarity and sharing of phenotypes deemed ecologically important. Many believe this polyphasic taxonomy is in need of revision because it lacks grounding in evolutionary theory, and boundaries between species are arbitrary. Recent taxonomy efforts using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) data are based on the identification of distinct phylogenetic clusters. However, these approaches face the problem of deciding the phylogenetic level at which clusters are representative of evolutionary or taxonomically distinct units. In this review, I propose classifying two phylogenetic clusters as separate species only when they have statistically significantly diverged as a result of adaptive evolution. More than a method for classification, the concept of adaptive divergence can be used in a 'reverse ecology' approach to identify lineages that are in the process of speciation or genes involved in initial adaptive divergence.

PMID:
21071229
DOI:
10.1016/j.tim.2010.10.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center