Summary: To clarify the intra- and intergeneric relationships of the genus , 16S rRNA sequences and respiratory isoprenoid quinones were determined for the type strains of the 21 validly published species and one isolate in the genus The sequence analysis revealed extreme heterogeneity of this genus, which diverged into nine distinct lines of descent. Each lineage of was characterized by possessing either menaquinone-6 (MK-6) or MK-7. The MK-6-possessing species were located in the two lineages that were remote from MK-7 species. One of the MK-6 lineages was composed only of terrestrial species and the other only of marine species. , the type species of the genus , was located in the MK-6 terrestrial lineage. The terrestrial species with MK-6 should be transferred to the genus The marine facultative anaerobes with MK-7 were located in the bacteroides branch, and possessed signature sequences with features intermediate between the bacteroides and the flavobacteria subdivisions. , the type species of the genus , had a close relationship only with The genus should be restricted to these two cellulose-degrading species. The genus is so heterogeneous that it should be divided into several genera and higher taxa in accordance with the phylogenetic relationships.


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