Working Paper Communication Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Conservation of Rhodococcus equi (Magnusson 1923) Goodfellow and Alderson 1977 and Rejection of Rhodococcus hoagii (Morse 1912) Kämpfer et al. 2014

Version 1 : Received: 29 January 2020 / Approved: 2 February 2020 / Online: 2 February 2020 (06:56:32 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


A recent taxonomic study confirmed the synonymy of Rhodococcus equi (Magnusson 1923) Goodfellow and Alderson 1977 and Corynebacterium hoagii (Morse 1912) Eberson 1918. As a result, both R. equi and C. hoagii were reclassified to Rhodococcus hoagii comb. nov. in application of the principle of priority of the Prokaryotic Code. Being R. equi a well-known animal and zoonotic human pathogen, and the name solidly established in the veterinary and medical literature, we and others argued that the nomenclatural change may cause error and confusion and be potentially perilous. We have now additionally found that the nomenclatural type of the basonym C. hoagii, ATCC 7005T, does not correspond with the original description of C. hoagii in the early literature. Its inclusion as the C. hoagii type on the Approved Lists 1980 results in a change in the characters of the taxon and in C. hoagii clearly designating two different bacteria. Moreover, ATCC 7005, the only strain in circulation under the name C. hoagii, does not have a well documented history; it is unclear why it was deposited as C. hoagii and a possible mixup with a Corynebacterium (Rhodococcus) equi isolate is a reasonable assumption. We therefore request the rejection of Rhodococcus hoagii as a nomen ambiguum, nomen dubium and nomen perplexum in addition to nomen periculosum, and conservation of the name Rhodococcus equi, according to Rules 56ab of the Code.


Rhodococcus equi; Rhodococcus hoagii; bacterial nomenclature; bacterial taxonomy; bacterial systematics


Biology and Life Sciences, Immunology and Microbiology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 2 February 2020
Commenter: John F Prescott
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Thanks for doing this. I hope there can be action by the Judicial Commission on this. Several years ago Steeve Gigiure headed up a similar effort, but we never heard back from Dr Garrity?, I think it was. I hope for the several convincing reasons that R. hoagii can be buried. Best wishes, John P
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Comment 2
Received: 18 February 2020
Commenter: Johnny Smith
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: I am in agreement with the Authors in resistance to the proposed name change. In dealing with donors, board members and all of the in house literature we produce, a name change impacts our operation significantly.
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