The radiation-resistant, red-pigmented bacteria belonging to the genus appear phenotypically similar to , but the complex envelope profile and biochemical phylogenetic markers show them to be gram-negative clones of ancient lineage. All the type strains of indubitable species ( and ) and all the representative strains of have unusual numbers of polar lipids (mostly phosphoglycolipids) and do not have phosphatidylglycerol (PG) or the phospholipids derived from it. This polar lipid profile is distinctive of the genus, and the patterns are useful for characterization. The lack of PG or di-PG and their derivatives provides a reasonably easy assignment to the genus and may allow recognition of relatives within the , which may not be radiation resistant. The , has a normal form of phospholipid profile, including PG. This, together with the peptidoglycan type L-Lys-L-Ala3-4, forces exclusion from and reassignment to


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