Bionomenclature background

Technological developments over the past 30 years have seen increasing improvements in access to genome-based sequence data, whether at the level of single amplified genes/gene clusters or at the whole genome level. This has led to access to an additional data set that expands and complements other data sets. One of the most significant discoveries has been the appreciation of greater genetic (and biological) diversity of organisms living on this planet. This includes the indication of cryptic species in morphologically highly similar macroscopic organisms as well as indication of an unprecedented appreciation of the diversity of microscopic organisms (prokaryotes, microscopic fungi, protists, etc.) These data highlight gaps in our taxonomic knowledge and at the same time there is clearly a need to fill in these gaps and to deal with the taxonomic information provided by these data. This also means that nomenclatural systems need to be developed in association with these data, either in accord with current nomenclatural practice as laid down by the existing Codes of Nomenclature or by alternative means that would allow subsequent integration into existing systems.

Extensive experience with the 16S rRNA gene sequence data from prokaryotes and the uncontrolled proliferation of names in GenBank has shown that proper consideration should be given to the interrelationship between the rapidly growing sequence based data sets, their source organisms and their integration into taxonomies and nomenclatural systems. In other areas of research (ranging from sequence based barcoding, metagenomics or to whole genome sequencing) the gathering of sequence based data is further contributing molecular methods for the identification and delineation of taxa.


Articles published on that topic:


tel: +33 (0)1 69 15 50 27
fax: +33 (0)1 69 15 79 47
Bâtiment 442, Université Paris Sud XI
91405 Orsay cedex, France
International Union of Biological Sciences
promoting biological sciences for a better life