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Exploring prokaryotic diversity in the genomic era

Philip Hugenholtz

Author affiliations

ComBinE group, Advanced Computational Modelling Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia

Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Hilgard Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

Citation and License

Genome Biology 2002, 3:reviews0003-reviews0003.8  doi:10.1186/gb-2002-3-2-reviews0003

Published: 29 January 2002


Our understanding of prokaryote biology from study of pure cultures and genome sequencing has been limited by a pronounced sampling bias towards four bacterial phyla - Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes - out of 35 bacterial and 18 archaeal phylum-level lineages. This bias is beginning to be rectified by the use of phylogenetically directed isolation strategies and by directly accessing microbial genomes from environmental samples.