The Bifidobacterium genus currently encompasses 48 recognized taxa, which have been isolated from different ecosystems. However, the current phylogeny of bifidobacteria is hampered by the relative paucity of genotypic data. Here, we reassessed the taxonomy of this bacterial genus using genome-based approaches, which demonstrated that the previous taxonomic view of bifidobacteria contained several inconsistencies. In particular, high levels of genetic relatedness were shown to exist between particular Bifidobacterium taxa which would not justify their status as separate species. The results presented are here based on average nucleotide identity analysis involving the genome sequences for each type strain of the 48 bifidobacterial taxa, as well as phylogenetic comparative analysis of the predicted core genome of the Bifidobacterium genus. The results of this study demonstrate that the availability of complete genome sequences allows the reconstruction of a more robust bifidobacterial phylogeny than that obtained from a single gene-based sequence comparison, thus discouraging the assignment of a new or separate bifidobacterial taxon without such a genome-based validation
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