1887

Abstract

The taxonomy of viruses is developed and overseen by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), which scrutinizes, approves and ratifies taxonomic proposals, and maintains a list of virus taxa with approved names (https://ictv.global). The ICTV has approximately 180 members who vote by simple majority. Taxon-specific Study Groups established by the ICTV have a combined membership of over 600 scientists from the wider virology community; they provide comprehensive expertise across the range of known viruses and are major contributors to the creation and evaluation of taxonomic proposals. Proposals can be submitted by anyone and will be considered by the ICTV irrespective of Study Group support. Thus, virus taxonomy is developed from within the virology community and realized by a democratic decision-making process. The ICTV upholds the distinction between a virus or replicating genetic element as a physical entity and the taxon category to which it is assigned. This is reflected by the nomenclature of the virus species taxon, which is now mandated by the ICTV to be in a binomial format (genus + species epithet) and is typographically distinct from the names of viruses. Classification of viruses below the rank of species (such as, genotypes or strains) is not within the remit of the ICTV. This article, authored by the ICTV Executive Committee, explains the principles of virus taxonomy and the organization, function, processes and resources of the ICTV, with the aim of encouraging greater understanding and interaction among the wider virology community.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Award 1021494)
    • Principle Award Recipient: SeadSabanadzovic
  • USDA-ARS (Award 58-6066-9-033)
    • Principle Award Recipient: SeadSabanadzovic
  • Medical Research Council (Award MC_UU_12014/12)
    • Principle Award Recipient: LuisaRubino
  • Biocenter Finland (Award FINStruct)
    • Principle Award Recipient: HannaM. Oksanen
  • National Institutes of Health (Award HHSN272201800013C)
    • Principle Award Recipient: JensH. Kuhn
  • National Institutes of Health (Award U24AI162625)
    • Principle Award Recipient: ElliotJ. Lefkowitz
  • European Union’s Horizon 2020 (Award 95597)
    • Principle Award Recipient: BasE. Dutilh
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award 390713860)
    • Principle Award Recipient: BasE. Dutilh
  • European Research Council (Award 865694)
    • Principle Award Recipient: BasE. Dutilh
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2023-05-04
2024-06-25
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