Bypassing cultivation to identify bacterial species.
Rodriguez-R LM, Konstantinidis KT.
Microbe 9(3):111-118. 2014.
- The current approach to defining bacterial species, based on genetic and phenotypic distinctiveness, is problematic.
- Bypassing cultivation to assess natural populations provides a valuable and perhaps more authoritative approach to identifying and defining bacterial species.
- Natural microbial communities are predominantly composed of sequence-discrete populations, with exceptions likely to be found within habitats that undergo frequent fluctuations or for organisms with unique ecologic characteristics.
- Sequence-discrete populations could be given candidate species names until appropriate isolates with ecologically relevant phenotypic properties are characterized.
- The mechanisms maintaining species, and perhaps more importantly, the relative importance of the mechanisms for different organisms and habitats, are not understood and demand further study.