Annals of Clinical Microbiology, The official Journal of the Korean Society of Clinical Microbiology


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Basic Concepts of Bacterial Taxonomy

Review article

Annals of Clinical Microbiology (Ann Clin Microbiol) 2012 September, Volume 15, Issue 3, pages 79-87.

Basic Concepts of Bacterial Taxonomy

Young Sook Kim1, Sook-Jin Jang2
Departments of 1Radiology, and 2Laboratory Medicine, Chosun University College of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea


The three components of taxonomy are classification, nomenclature and identification. Traditionally, bacterial classification and identification were performed based on the morphology and the biochemical data of the bacteria. In newer theories, or so-called natural concepts, the relationships between bacteria are based on the overall similarities of both the phenotypic and genotypic characteristics. The polyphasic taxonomy, or current taxonomy, describes the integration of all of the available genotypic, phenotypic, and phylogenetic information into a consensus type of general-purpose classification. When routine identification methods that are based on the biochemical tests fail, alternative procedures such as complete 16s rRNA gene sequence analysis are required. Although the results of 16s rRNA gene sequence analysis have not been fully discriminatory to differentiate closely related species, they may guide the additional analyses that are required for species identification. (Korean J Clin Microbiol 2012;15:79-87)


Bacteria, Classification, Identification, rRNA genes, Taxonomy