Virus nomenclature descending into chaos

Virus nomenclature descending into chaos A. J. Gibbs Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia Taxonomy with its two faces, systematics and nomenclature, is the mother of sciences; we must know what we are talking about, and that is the function of names. Hence rules of nomenclature in biology at large, including virology, aim to promote the meaningfulness, reliability and stability of names. That is why it is surprising that the International Commit- tee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) breaks two of the basic rules it promulgates in the recently published Revisions of the Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature [6]. It is stated in the Foreword to this revision states that the Code “is revised occasionally to conform with accepted virological practice”, and in Rule 3.9 that “Existing names of taxa and viruses shall be retained whenever feasible”. Nonetheless the ICTV then issues edicts (new Rule 3.40) telling all virologists to italicize all ICTV-approved virus names, and to capitalize the first letter of all names of virus species (e.g. Frangipani mosaic virus). It thus insists that virologists should stop using the informative taxonomy-based non-Latinized binomial system of naming viruses (e.g. frangipani mosaic tobamovirus and Iris fulva mosaic potyvirus), that has been increasingly widely used Archives of Virology Springer Journals

Virus nomenclature descending into chaos

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