[Taxacom] The Draft BioCode (2011)

John McNeill johnm at rom.on.ca
Thu Jan 27 07:16:58 CST 2011

The Draft BioCode (2011):

Paul van Rijckevorsel (dipteryx at freeler.nl) and Neal Evenhuis
(neale at bishopmuseum.org) have already referred on Taxacom, to the fact
that the revised Draft BioCode (2011) is being published in the February
2011 issue of Taxon (vol. 60 part 1) and is now online as a fast-track
publication at
The International Committee on Bionomenclature (ICB) under whose
auspices the Draft BioCode is published has a new website (
http://www.bionomenclature.net/ ) and the Draft BioCode (2011) is
available there at http://www.bionomenclature.net/biocode2011.html along
with other information and documents on Bionomenclature.

Werner Greuter, Secretary of the ICB has prepared the following
explanation of The Draft BioCode (2011) particularly in relation to the
existing Codes of biological nomenclature:

Explanatory prologue

As compared to its predecessor of 1997, the new, 2011 version of the
BioCode has been substantially rewritten to take past experience into
account. It no longer aims to replace the current (special) Codes, but
instead it endeavours to provide an over-arching common framework for
them. It is therefore to be used alongside the special Codes, as their
complement, and is ready for immediate implementation. It is a terse
text of only 35 Articles, making reference to the special Codes whenever
appropriate, but for most purposes it can stand on its own. Besides, it
foreshadows a number of essential future improvements, which depend on
changes in the special Codes before they can take effect – and will
hopefully trigger such changes. One such option is the requirement to
register new names and nomenclatural acts (e.g. lectotype designations)
[Art. 5.2, 12 & 13]: not a new idea (it is included in the earlier draft
versions) but here modified to take advantage of recent technological
(and hopefully psychological) progress. Further proposed innovations are
the requirement of English or Latin descriptive matter for new taxa
(currently Latin for plants, any language for animals) [Art. 7]; the
option to protect names and their attributes by means of Adopted Lists
[Art. 20]; the prospect of banishing inter-regnal homonymy for future
names [Art. 18.2]; and the permission, for so-called ambiregnal
organisms, to use alternative (zoological or botanical or
bacteriological) terminations for suprageneric names, irrespective of
the Code that is being applied [Art. 23 Note 2, 24 Note 2, 25 Note 1].
An innovative approach has permitted to extend to botany and
bacteriology the principle of coordinated status of names within rank
groups, fundamental in zoology [Art. 3.3]. By introducing additional
ranks (profamily between family and subfamily [Art. 24.1 & Note 1],
progenus between genus and subgenus [Art. 26.2 &Notes], prospecies
between species and subspecies [Art. 28.3 & Notes]) the coordinated
status rules can be implemented retroactively for all kinds of organism
without negative, destabilising effects on the existing system of names.

This text is a draft only. The present wording, while carefully
considered, may in places fall short of the basic intent outlined above,
or might be construed to have unintended effects. If so, it must be, and
will be, improved. Suggestions and comments are now encouraged.

Werner GREUTER (ICB Secretary)

As noted above, further information on the Draft BioCode is to be found
at http://www.bionomenclature.net/ 

John McNeill

John McNeill, Rapporteur-général, Nomenclature Section, IBC
    Nomenclature Editor, TAXON (TaxonNom at rbge.ac.uk)
    Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum;
    Honorary Associate, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
Mailing address:  Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, Scotland,
Telephone:    +44-131-248-2848;  fax: +44-131-248-2901
Home office:  +44-162-088-0651
e-mail: jmcneill at rbge.ac.uk (mail to johnm-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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