The phylogenetic relationships of the type strains of 9 Klebsiella species and 20 species from 11 genera of the family Enterobacteriaceae were investigated by performing a comparative analysis of the sequences of the 16S rRNA and rpoB genes. The sequence data were phylogenetically analysed by the neighbourjoining and parsimony methods. The phylogenetic inference of the sequence comparison confirmed that the genus Klebsiella is heterogeneous and composed of species which form three clusters that also included members of other genera, including Enterobacter aerogenes, Erwinia clusters I and II and Tatumella. Cluster I contained the type strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. rhinoscleromatis and Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. ozaenae. Cluster II contained Klebsiella ornithinolytica, Klebsiella planticola, Klebsiella trevisanii and Klebsiella terrigena, organisms characterized by growth at 10 degrees C and utilization of L-sorbose as carbon source. Cluster III contained Klebsiella oxytoca. The data from the sequence analyses along with previously reported biochemical and DNA-DNA hybridization data support the division of the genus Klebsiella into two genera and one genogroup. The name Raoultella is proposed as a genus name for species of cluster II and emended definitions of Klebsiella species are proposed.