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Taxonomy of the Helicobacter Genus.


In: Mobley HLT, Mendz GL, Hazell SL, editors.


Helicobacter pylori: Physiology and Genetics. Washington (DC): ASM Press; 2001. Chapter 5.


There are currently 18 formally validated Helicobacter species. In addition, two candidate species have been described, "Candidatus Helicobacter bovis" and "Candidatus Helicobacter suis." The intense interest in these organisms ensures that the Helicobacter genus will continue to grow at a brisk pace, as currently described species are validated and novel species are discovered. To avoid the confusion that has sometimes accompanied premature formal naming of species, the International Committee of Systematic Bacteriology Subcommittee on the Taxonomy of Campylobacter and Related Bacteria has agreed on minimum requirements for the description of new species of the genus Helicobacter (12). This is a polyphasic approach that is based on examination of five or more strains, with analysis of phenotypic characteristics, an essentially complete (greater than 1,450 bases) 16S rRNA sequence, and DNA-DNA hybridization. Numerical analysis of whole-cell protein profiles may be considered as an alternative or adjunctive method to DNA-DNA hybridization. Putative new species of uncultured organisms for which 16S rRNA data are available may be assigned to Candidatus status if five or more putative isolates are identified, and if sequence data are supported by in situ hybridization. Adherence to these guidelines will simplify the taxonomy of the Helicobacter genus, and in so doing, will ultimately contribute to our understanding of the role of diverse Helicobacter species in the pathogenesis of gastric and enterohepatic diseases in humans and other animals.

Copyright © 2001, ASM Press.

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