Submitted to: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2005
Publication Date: 11/15/2006
Citation: Uilenberg, G., Goff, W.L. 2006. Polyphasic Taxonomy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1081:492-497.
Interpretive Summary: Newer techniques for determining the appropriate name of biological organisms, relationship to other organisms and their evolutionary history are being used sometimes without regard to previous methods. This can result in misleading information and incorrect conclusions. Here we draw attention to the strengths and weaknesses of both previous and newer techniques used in taxonomy and argue that both should be incorporated before assigning new or different names to microorganisms.
Technical Abstract: Several organisms from a number of prokaryotic and eukaryotic groups have presented problems for systematists for a long time. Both phenotypic and genotypic methods for sorting out these relationships have been employed. There are limitations with each method when taken alone. Since the purpose of systematics is to determine the correct genealogical relationships among biological organisms, it is necessary to use all available means to arrive at consensus associations, and polyphasic taxonomy which takes into consideration both methods is a rational approach. In this short review, we provide a number of examples where polyphasic taxonomy is serving as the means of arriving at the desired consensus.