Members of the recently proposed genus Parasynechococcus (Cyanobacteria) are extremely abundant throughout the global ocean and contribute significantly to global primary productivity. However, the taxonomy of these organisms remains poorly characterized. The aim of this study was to propose a new taxonomic framework for Parasynechococcus based on a genomic taxonomy approach that incorporates genomic, physiological and ecological data. Through in silico DNA-DNA hybridization, average amino acid identity, dinucleotide signatures and phylogenetic reconstruction, a total of 15 species of Parasynechococcus could be delineated. Each species was then described on the basis of their gene content, light and nutrient utilization strategies, geographical distribution patterns throughout the oceans and response to environmental parameters.
Keywords: Cyanobacteria; Genomic taxonomy; Pan-genome; Parasynechococcus.