SeqCode: a nomenclatural code for prokaryotes described from sequence data

Brian P. Hedlund, Maria Chuvochina, Philip Hugenholtz, Konstantinos T. Konstantinidis, Alison E. Murray, Marike Palmer, Donovan H. Parks, Alexander J. Probst, Anna Louise Reysenbach, Luis M. Rodriguez-R, Ramon Rossello-Mora, Iain C. Sutcliffe, Stephanus N. Venter, William B. Whitman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
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Most prokaryotes are not available as pure cultures and therefore ineligible for naming under the rules and recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP). Here we summarize the development of the SeqCode, a code of nomenclature under which genome sequences serve as nomenclatural types. This code enables valid publication of names of prokaryotes based upon isolate genome, metagenome-assembled genome or single-amplified genome sequences. Otherwise, it is similar to the ICNP with regard to the formation of names and rules of priority. It operates through the SeqCode Registry (, a registration portal through which names and nomenclatural types are registered, validated and linked to metadata. We describe the two paths currently available within SeqCode to register and validate names, including Candidatus names, and provide examples for both. Recommendations on minimal standards for DNA sequences are provided. Thus, the SeqCode provides a reproducible and objective framework for the nomenclature of all prokaryotes regardless of cultivability and facilitates communication across microbiological disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1702-1708
Number of pages7
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number10
Early online date19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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