Advances in yeast systematics and phylogeny and their use as predictors of biotechnologically important metabolic pathways

FEMS Yeast Res. 2015 Sep;15(6):fov050. doi: 10.1093/femsyr/fov050. Epub 2015 Jun 30.


Detection, identification and classification of yeasts have undergone a major transformation in the last decade and a half following application of gene sequence analyses and genome comparisons. Development of a database (barcode) of easily determined DNA sequences from domains 1 and 2 (D1/D2) of the nuclear large subunit rRNA gene and from ITS now permits many laboratories to identify species quickly and accurately, thus replacing the laborious and often inaccurate phenotypic tests previously used. Phylogenetic analysis of gene sequences is leading to a major revision of yeast systematics that will result in redefinition of nearly all genera. This new understanding of species relationships has prompted a change of rules for naming and classifying yeasts and other fungi, and these new rules are presented in the recently implemented International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code). The use of molecular methods for species identification and the impact of Code changes on classification will be discussed, as will use of phylogeny for prediction of biotechnological applications.

Keywords: biotechnology; ecology; systematics; taxonomy; yeasts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / methods
  • DNA Barcoding, Taxonomic
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Industrial Microbiology / methods
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Yeasts / classification*
  • Yeasts / genetics*


  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, ribosomal, 26S