Prokaryotic phylum name changes coming soon!

Prokaryotic phylum name changes coming soon!

Beginning in the first week of January 2023, NCBI Taxonomy will initiate changes to prokaryote phylum names in accordance with the recent inclusion of rank ‘phylum’ in the International Code of Nomenclature for Prokaryotes (ICNP). We first announced this update that involves changes to 42 NCBI taxa about a year ago. We will change several names that have long been in use (e.g., Firmicutes, Proteobacteria) to newly formalized names (e.g., Bacillota, Pseudomonadota) that may be unfamiliar to some.

You will still see the previous names on records and can search using them, but they will not be displayed as prominently as before. The organism names on Entrez records will not change (e.g., Bacillus subtilis). However, we will update the phylum names on the displayed lineages for ~276 million records (see an example in Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: Taxonomy browser entry and a Nucleotide record for Bacillus subtilis. Red boxes in the Lineage show the current phylum name, Firmicutes. The updated phylum name will be Bacillota in both contexts.

We will propagate the changes in taxonomy to various NCBI products in approximately 6-8 weeks from the start date.  You will notice these changes mainly on GenBank, GenPept, Gene, Genome, RefSeq, Datasets, BioProject, BioSample, and PubChem records where lineages are displayed. During this period, you may see new names on some NCBI pages and FTP downloads while old names remain on others, due to asynchronous propagation.

View the full list of prokaryotic phylum name updates here.

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