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Shifting the genomic gold standard for the prokaryotic species definition.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Archaea, Species Specificity, Software, Sequence Homology, Sequence Analysis, DNA, genetics, Nucleotides, methods, Genomics, Databases, Genetic, Computational Biology, Classification, Bacteria

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      Abstract

      DNA-DNA hybridization (DDH) has been used for nearly 50 years as the gold standard for prokaryotic species circumscriptions at the genomic level. It has been the only taxonomic method that offered a numerical and relatively stable species boundary, and its use has had a paramount influence on how the current classification has been constructed. However, now, in the era of genomics, DDH appears to be an outdated method for classification that needs to be substituted. The average nucleotide identity (ANI) between two genomes seems the most promising method since it mirrors DDH closely. Here we examine the work package JSpecies as a user-friendly, biologist-oriented interface to calculate ANI and the correlation of the tetranucleotide signatures between pairwise genomic comparisons. The results agreed with the use of ANI to substitute DDH, with a narrowed boundary that could be set at approximately 95-96%. In addition, the JSpecies package implemented the tetranucleotide signature correlation index, an alignment-free parameter that generally correlates with ANI and that can be of help in deciding when a given pair of organisms should be classified in the same species. Moreover, for taxonomic purposes, the analyses can be produced by simply randomly sequencing at least 20% of the genome of the query strains rather than obtaining their full sequence.

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      Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST a new generation of protein database search programs

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        DNA-DNA hybridization values and their relationship to whole-genome sequence similarities.

        DNA-DNA hybridization (DDH) values have been used by bacterial taxonomists since the 1960s to determine relatedness between strains and are still the most important criterion in the delineation of bacterial species. Since the extent of hybridization between a pair of strains is ultimately governed by their respective genomic sequences, we examined the quantitative relationship between DDH values and genome sequence-derived parameters, such as the average nucleotide identity (ANI) of common genes and the percentage of conserved DNA. A total of 124 DDH values were determined for 28 strains for which genome sequences were available. The strains belong to six important and diverse groups of bacteria for which the intra-group 16S rRNA gene sequence identity was greater than 94 %. The results revealed a close relationship between DDH values and ANI and between DNA-DNA hybridization and the percentage of conserved DNA for each pair of strains. The recommended cut-off point of 70 % DDH for species delineation corresponded to 95 % ANI and 69 % conserved DNA. When the analysis was restricted to the protein-coding portion of the genome, 70 % DDH corresponded to 85 % conserved genes for a pair of strains. These results reveal extensive gene diversity within the current concept of "species". Examination of reciprocal values indicated that the level of experimental error associated with the DDH method is too high to reveal the subtle differences in genome size among the strains sampled. It is concluded that ANI can accurately replace DDH values for strains for which genome sequences are available.
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          Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Reconciliation of Approaches to Bacterial Systematics

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            19855009
            10.1073/pnas.0906412106
            2776425

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