Name Change: To Change or Not to Change

A recent mycology Proficiency Testing survey targeted the yeast Candida or now called Clavispora lusitaniae. Approximately 30% of the participants reported the yeast with its current name: Clavispora +/- (Candida) lusitaniae while the other 70% or laboratories reported it as Candida lusitaniae.

Candida represents a large, highly polyphyletic group that does not meet the 3 generally accepted criteria of a genus: (1) monophyly, that is, all species within it evolving from a common ancestor; (2) reasonable compactness in terms of the number of species it encompasses; and (3) members of the genus share evolutionarily derived characteristics.1,2

A recent review published by Kidd et al.2 describes recent changes in the classification of fungi and lists the previous and current names for Candida species and other fungi.

Candida lusitaniae is now Clavispora lusitaniae and laboratories should determine how to approach fungal name changes with appropriate stakeholders.

How to Manage Changes in Nomenclature

Some laboratories are concerned that the use of unfamiliar species’ names could lead to physicians being confused. However, a study conducted by Kidd et al.3 showed that (93.5% laboratories and 79.7% clinicians were aware of fungal nomenclature changes and that the vast majority of clinicians (94%) supported updates species name with inclusion of the previous species name.

Proficiency testing participation gives the laboratories the opportunity to compare their practices with those of other participants and could help to raise awareness of name changes and or start implementing new organisms names.

Clavispora lusitaniae. Copyright CMPT 2023

Posted in Clinical Microbiology