The Phage Proteomic Tree: a genome-based taxonomy for phage

J Bacteriol. 2002 Aug;184(16):4529-35. doi: 10.1128/JB.184.16.4529-4535.2002.


There are approximately 10(31) phage in the biosphere, making them the most abundant biological entities on the planet. Despite their great numbers and ubiquitous presence, very little is known about phage biodiversity, biogeography, or phylogeny. Information is limited, in part, because the current ICTV taxonomical system is based on culturing phage and measuring physical parameters of the free virion. No sequence-based taxonomic systems have previously been established for phage. We present here the "Phage Proteomic Tree," which is based on the overall similarity of 105 completely sequenced phage genomes. The Phage Proteomic Tree places phage relative to both their near neighbors and all other phage included in the analysis. This method groups phage into taxa that predicts several aspects of phage biology and highlights genetic markers that can be used for monitoring phage biodiversity. We propose that the Phage Proteomic Tree be used as the basis of a genome-based taxonomical system for phage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / classification*
  • Bacteriophages / genetics*
  • Classification / methods*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Viral
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Proteome / genetics*


  • Proteome

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB016282
  • GENBANK/AF052431
  • GENBANK/AY027935
  • GENBANK/D89074
  • GENBANK/L06183
  • GENBANK/M17988
  • GENBANK/U38906
  • GENBANK/U88974
  • GENBANK/V00604
  • GENBANK/X07489
  • GENBANK/X98106
  • GENBANK/X99260
  • RefSeq/NC_001365