Possibility and challenges of conversion of current virus species names to Linnaean binomials

Thomas S. Postler, Anna N. Clawson, Gaya K. Amarasinghe, Christopher F. Basler, Sbina Bavari, Mária Benko, Kim R. Blasdell, Thomas Briese, Michael J. Buchmeier, Alexander Bukreyev, Charles H. Calisher, Kartik Chandran, Rémi Charrel, Christopher S. Clegg, Peter L. Collins, Juan Carlos De La Torre, Joseph L. DeRisi, Ralf G. Dietzgen, Olga Dolnik, Ralf DürrwaldJohn M. Dye, Andrew J. Easton, Sébastian Emonet, Pierre Formenty, Ron A.M. Fouchier, Elodie Ghedin, Jean Paul Gonzalez, Balázs Harrach, Roger Hewson, Masayuki Horie, Dàohóng Jiāng, Gary Kobinger, Hideki Kondo, Andrew M. Kropinski, Mart Krupovic, Gael Kurath, Robert A. Lamb, Eric M. Leroy, Igor S. Lukashevich, Andrea Maisner, Arcady R. Mushegian, Sergey V. Netesov, Norbert Nowotny, Jean L. Patterson, Susan L. Payne, Janusz T. Paweska, Clarence J. Peters, Sheli R. Radoshitzky, Bertus K. Rima, Victor Romanowski, Dennis Rubbenstroth, Sead Sabanadzovic, Hélène Sanfaçon, Maria S. Salvato, Martin Schwemmle, Sophie J. Smither, Mark D. Stenglein, David M. Stone, Ayato Takada, Robert B. Tesh, Keizo Tomonaga, Noël Tordo, Jonathan S. Towner, Nikos Vasilakis, Viktor E. Volchkov, Victoria Wahl-Jensen, Peter J. Walker, Lin Fa Wang, Arvind Varsani, Anna E. Whitfield, F. Murilo Zerbini, Jens H. Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Botanical, mycological, zoological, and prokaryotic species names follow the Linnaean format, consisting of an italicized Latinized binomen with a capitalized genus name and a lower case species epithet (e.g., Homo sapiens). Virus species names, however, do not follow a uniform format, and, even when binomial, are not Linnaean in style. In this thought exercise, we attempted toconvert all currently official names ofspecies included in the virusfamily Arenaviridae and the virus order Mononegavirales to Linnaean binomials, and to identify and address associated challenges and concerns. Surprisingly, this endeavor was not as complicated or time-consuming as even the authors of this article expected when conceiving the experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalSystematic Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Arenaviridae
  • Binomials
  • Ictv
  • International committee on taxonomy of viruses
  • Mononegavirales
  • Virus nomenclature
  • Virus taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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