Microorganisms heavily influence life on earth more than any other group of organisms and hold all records with respect to abundance, biomass, genetic diversity and diversity of metabolic pathways. The classification, characterization and identification of microbes is of utmost importance for medicine, biotechnology and ecology. To validly publish a new species name, the deposition of the respective type strain in culture collections is required, which guarantees an unrestricted access to life samples for the scientific community. Today, the tremendous advances in sequencing technologies call for considering genome sequencing as a novel standard technique for the characterization of microorganisms.
The Type (Strain) Genome Server (TYGS) closes a gap by providing a publicly available bioinformatics infrastructure. It builds on the established GGDC infrastructure but adds a variety of taxonomically useful facilities. TYGS allows for a genome-based replacement of taxonomic standard techniques such as DNA:DNA hybridization (DDH), G+C-content measurement, 16S rRNA gene sequencing and multi-locus sequence analysis. TYGS results include species and subspecies boundaries, genome-scale and 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic trees with branch support, links to the taxonomic literature and links to deposits of type strains in culture collections. The relevant type-strain genomes are determined automatically but can also be specified by the user.