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A critical rebuttal of the proposed division of the genus Arcobacter into six genera using comparative genomic, phylogenetic, and phenotypic criteria.

Abstract

The proposal to restructure the genus Arcobacter into six distinct genera was critically examined using: comparative analyses of up to 80 Epsilonproteobacterial genome sequences (including 26 arcobacters); phylogenetic analyses of three housekeeping genes and also 342 core genes; and phenotypic criteria. Genome sequences were analysed with tools to calculate Percentage of Conserved Proteins, Average Amino-acid Identity, BLAST-based Average Nucleotide Identity, in silico DNA–DNA hybridisation values, genome-wide Average Nucleotide Identity, Alignment Fractions and G + C percentages. Genome analyses revealed the genus Arcobacter sensu lato to be relatively homogenous, and phylogenetic analyses clearly distinguished the group from other Epsilonproteobacteria. Genomic distinction of the genera proposed by Pérez-Cataluña et al. [2018] was not supported by any of the measures used and a subsequent risk of strain misidentification clearly identified. Similarly, phenotypic analyses supported the delineation of Arcobacter sensu lato but did not justify the position of the proposed novel genera. The present polyphasic taxonomic study strongly supports the continuance of the classification of “aerotolerant campylobacters” as Arcobacter and refutes the proposed genus-level subdivision of Pérez-Cataluña et al. [2018].

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