Automated analysis of genomic sequences facilitates high-throughput and comprehensive description of bacteria

Thomas C. A. Hitch, Thomas Riedel, Aharon Oren, Joerg Overmann, Trevor D. Lawley, Thomas Clavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of microbial communities is hampered by the large fraction of still unknown bacteria. However, many of these species have been isolated, yet lack a validly published name or description. The validation of names for novel bacteria requires that the uniqueness of those taxa is demonstrated and their properties are described. The accepted format for this is the protologue, which can be time-consuming to create. Hence, many research fields in microbiology and biotechnology will greatly benefit from new approaches that reduce the workload and harmonise the generation of protologues.We have developed Protologger, a bioinformatic tool that automatically generates all the necessary readouts for writing a detailed protologue. By producing multiple taxonomic outputs, functional features and ecological analysis using the 16S rRNA gene and genome sequences from a single species, the time needed to gather the information for describing novel taxa is substantially reduced. The usefulness of Protologger was demonstrated by using three published isolate collections to describe 34 novel taxa, encompassing 17 novel species and 17 novel genera, including the automatic generation of ecologically and functionally relevant names. We also highlight the need to utilise multiple taxonomic delineation methods, as while inconsistencies between each method occur, a combined approach provides robust placement. Protologger is open source; all scripts and datasets are available, along with a webserver at
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 May 2021


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