Bacterial Systematics

Scott Federhen federhen at NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV
Wed Mar 22 15:41:54 CST 2000

I'm Scott Federhen, and I am part of the GenBank Taxonomy Project.

The NCBI taxonomy is not a primary taxonomic resource or authority -
it is intended to be a convenient index into the organisms represented
in the sequence databases, and we attempt to incorporate phylogenetic
and taxonomic knowledge from a variety of sources. It is a work in
progress, and we welcome specific comments and criticisms in any of
the areas covered by our database. (I have ranked the Proteobacteria
as a phylum, and removed the premature 'Burkholderiales')
Please send mail to info at

For bacterial nomenclature two excellent general sites are:

The RDP maintains a bacterial phylogeny based on ribosomal RNA
sequences -

But, as several people have already pointed out, for anyone who is
really interested in bacterial classification there is no substitute
for the standard reference tomes - "Bergey's Manual of Systematic
Bacteriology" (with the first volume of a new edition due out this
summer) and "The Prokaryotes" (2nd ed.) - and of course the primary
scientific literature. Of particular interest here is the IJSB
(recently renamed the IJSEM), which currently provides free
full-text access on it's web site:

:Scott federhen at
 GenBank Taxonomy Group

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