Genetic Resolution

Why does genetic resolution matter in taxonomy?

The species bottleneck

A grave over-simplification of prokaryotic taxonomy is made when only valid name species are considered. The long and arduous path of validating through the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes and publishing novel species bottlenecks the influx of genomic information we have available. As sequencing of whole genomes is rapidly becoming more efficient and accurate, we have a wealth of assembled genomes and marker genes that don’t quite match described species. This can lead to mislabelling of organisms of interest in your samples.

16S rRNA phylotyping example

Take, for instance, the 16S rRNA marker gene used in identifying bacterial species. Using a reference database composed of only valid name species, the phylogenetic tree looks like this:

However, if we incorporate EzBioCloud phylotypes, including Pacific Bioscience HiFi 16S rRNA full-length reads, you can clearly see the increased species resolution.

Accordingly, the taxonomy results are transformed by this expanded reference database.

Two of the top three species found in this study are phylotypes. If we relied on only valid name species in our database, these distinct phylotypes would not be seen. Instead, their associations would be distributed to other species, affecting the proportions and identification of species of interest.

In the fields of taxonomy and phylogenetics, resolution matters. Contact our team to find out more.

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