Bacterial Systematics

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 20 06:22:40 CST 2000

     Why the "thumbs down" on NCBI?  The NCBI Taxonomy does have some
problems, but at least it attempts to present a comprehensive
classification.  The bacterial "nomenclature" sites that I've seen have
their problems too, and are no less confusing (although in a different way).
     For instance, should Rickettsiales be classified in Microtatobiotes
(with the viruses) or in Proteobacteria.  I really have no idea why a name
like Microtatobiotes was placed on the Official List, but I would think it
would be better relegated to a list of "historical oddities", like the
zoological name "Vermes".  And I can't see a name like "Mendosicutes" ever
coming into common use.  Anoxyphotobacteria might be a convenient grouping
for the time being in some contexts, but it is hardly natural in any
meaningful way (photosynthesis having been repeatedly lost in many different
lineages).  Even Woese wouldn't make a mistake like that.
     There's got be a useful "middle ground" between (1) the Woesian
approach (purely cladistic in a very destructive way) and (2) the
conservative Bergey's Manual approach (which can make even moderate cladists
     And while Archae(o)bacteria might be better than Woese's Archaea, the
older name Archaebacteria (which is still widely used) seems preferable (as
Ernst Mayr has repeatedly suggested).  Of course, I personally believe the
far more accurate name Metabacteria will eventually supplant all of these
names.  My recommendation is that in any paper discussing them, that one
should at least once use both names together, Archaebacteria (=
Metabacteria), or even better Metabacteria (= Archaebacteria).  And until
Woese's unfortunate neologism "Archaea" is discredited, it should be
footnoted or mentioned, but certainly not used as a formal taxon name (and
NCBI is hardly alone in having jumped on that 1990's bandwagon).
     I certainly look forward to seeing how MacMillan's Encyclopaedia
approaches bacterial classification, and at the very least I hope they have
the sense to use Archaebacteria rather than "Archaea".
                       ----Ken Kinman
>From: "B. J. Tindall" <bti at DSMZ.DE>
>Reply-To: "B. J. Tindall" <bti at DSMZ.DE>
>Subject: Re: Bacterial Systematics
>Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 12:40:03 +0100
>What are you looking for exactly? There are one or two excellent websites
>covering nomenclature (but NOT the NCBI website!!) and there may be
>something coming out via MacMillan's "Encylopedia of Life Sciences". You
>should certainly be careful of the fact that some of the older reference
>works (more than 10 years old) are out of date in various areas. It can
>certainly appear to be rather confusing if you are just getting involved in
>the area. You should certainly consult someone with first hand knowledge of
>the area.
>Best wishes
>Brian Tindall
>At 09:07 15.3.2000 -0500, you wrote:
> >Hash: SHA1
> >
> >Hi Everybody
> >
> >I'm begin a project of review the bacterial classification and
> >systematics.
> >Ane one of you can help me with recommendations of book, on line
> >textex and articles?
> >
> >Thanks in advances
> >
> >Diego Riaño
> >Version: PGPfreeware 5.5.3i for non-commercial use <>
> >
> >iQA/AwUBOM+ZFGLY/Spid5gAEQLG4wCg4q0KVBeyKTFmrqybht3A/bKxnacAoJa+
> >MvD9j9xo9BMeJzx/RTi9YrAi
> >=Pyyz
> >-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
> >
> >____________________________________________________
> >My PGP key at
> >
> >____________________________________________________
> >Diego Mauricio Riaño Pachón
> >Student of Biology
> >National University of Colombia
> >Sciences Faculty
> >Biothecnology Institute
> >Molecular Biology Laboratory
> >Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
> >
> >e-mail:
> >        driano at
> >        mao9823 at
> >
> >
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