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Could a Focus on the “Why” of Taxonomy Help Taxonomy Better Respond to the Needs of Science and Society?Genomics has put prokaryotic rank-based taxonomy on a solid phylogenetic foundation. However, most taxonomic ranks were set long before the advent of DNA sequencing and genomics. In this concept paper, we thus ask the following question: should prokaryotic classification schemes besides the current phylum-to-species ranks be explored, developed, and incorporated into scientific discourse? Could such alternative schemes provide better solutions to the basic need of science and society for which taxonomy was developed, namely, precise and meaningful identification? A neutral genome-similarity based framework is then described that could allow alternative classification schemes to be explored, compared, and translated into each other without having to choose only one as the gold standard. Classification schemes could thus continue to evolve and be selected according to their benefits and based on how well they fulfill the need for prokaryotic identification.Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 19, 2023
Abstract As the scale of biological data generation has increased, the bottleneck of research has shifted from data generation to analysis. Researchers commonly need to build computational workflows that include multiple analytic tools and require incremental development as experimental insights demand tool and parameter modifications. These workflows can produce hundreds to thousands of intermediate files and results that must be integrated for biological insight. Data-centric workflow systems that internally manage computational resources, software, and conditional execution of analysis steps are reshaping the landscape of biological data analysis and empowering researchers to conduct reproducible analyses at scale. Adoption of these tools can facilitate and expedite robust data analysis, but knowledge of these techniques is still lacking. Here, we provide a series of strategies for leveraging workflow systems with structured project, data, and resource management to streamline large-scale biological analysis. We present these practices in the context of high-throughput sequencing data analysis, but the principles are broadly applicable to biologists working beyond this field.