Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 29, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Recent developments in the characterization of microbial genomes by molecular genetic methods have radically changed our perception of the diversity of microorganisms and their evolutionary relationships. These new developments bring many opportunities for culture collections. Foremost is the possibility to accurately identify the cultures maintained, many of which were named on the basis of phenotypic characters. Classification of species using a system based on molecular phylogeny brings with it the capability for predicting which species have a particular biochemical property, thus enhancing the possibilities for biotechnological discoveries. The number of new microorganisms being recognized from molecular comparisons is increasing rapidly, but the opportunities to advantageously utilize these novel isolates in medicine, agriculture, and industry will be lost unless they are properly maintained. .Consequently, researchers must deposit their new strains in internationally recognized culture collections where this germplasm will be available to other scientists. To do otherwise is to squander the funding that supported the research. Culture deposits will become universal only if journal editors insist that this must be done as a condition for publication. This is no different than the requirement that novel nucleic acid sequences be deposited in GenBank or EMBL. The advantages to science and technology can be demonstrated by the example of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). How rapidly would this remarkable technology have developed without the availability of Thermus aquaticus in a culture collection?