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While early microbiologists showed considerable interest in the problem of the natural (evolutionary) relationships among prokaryotes, by the middle of this century that problem had largely been discarded as being unsolvable. In other words, the science of microbiology developed without an evolutionary framework, the lack of which kept it a weak discipline, defined largely by external forces. Modern technology has allowed microbiology finally to develop the needed evolutionary framework, and with this comes a sense of coherence, a sense of identity. Not only is this development radically changing microbiology itself, but also it will change microbiology's relationship to the other biological disciplines. Microbiology of the future will become the primary biological science, the base upon which our future understanding of the living world rests, and the font from which new understanding of it flows.