NCBI Taxonomy to include phylum rank in taxonomic names

NCBI Taxonomy will append a list of 42 names of prokaryote phyla published for validation purposes as required under the International Code of Nomenclature for Prokaryotes (ICNP). You can still search for previous informal names, and any informal phylum rank names not addressed in the validation list will remain unchanged.

The largest named groups affected by this change are:

Current name New name
Firmicutes Bacillota
Proteobacteria Pseudomonadota
Actinobacteria Actinomycetota
Bacteroidetes Bacteroidota

In the first half of 2021, the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) voted to include the rank of phylum under taxonomic names covered by the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) (2008 Revision). The rank phylum was previously widely used in literature for prokaryotic names, and included in the NCBI Taxonomy, but not formally recognized in the ICNP. Currently, this rank is assigned to 167 bacterial and 39 archaeal informal names in NCBI Taxonomy. The newly adjusted rule (Rule 8) in the ICNP requires all formal rank names to be formed by the addition of the suffix ” -ota” to the stem of the name of the designated type genus. NCBI Taxonomy adheres to the rules stipulated in several codes of nomenclature and this means that several names in long standing use will be changed accordingly.

NCBI Taxonomy is a curated classification and nomenclature for all of the organisms in public sequence databases. This currently represents about 10% of the described life on the planet.

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