The best of both worlds: a proposal for further integration of Candidatus names into the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes

Arahal et al. (2024). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 74 (1)
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics General Medicine Microbiology
The naming of prokaryotes is governed by the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) and partially by the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi and Plants (ICN). Such codes must be able to determine names of taxa in a universal and unambiguous manner, thus serving as a common language across different fields and activities. This unity is undermined when a new code of nomenclature emerges that overlaps in scope with an established, time-tested code and uses the same format of names but assigns different nomenclatural status values to the names. The resulting nomenclatural confusion is not beneficial to the wider scientific community. Such ambiguity is expected to result from the establishment of the ‘Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes Described from DNA Sequence Data’ (‘SeqCode’), which is in general and specific conflict with the ICNP and the ICN. Shortcomings in the interpretation of the ICNP may have exacerbated the incompatibility between the codes. It is reiterated as to why proposals to accept sequences as nomenclatural types of species and subspecies with validly published names, now implemented in the SeqCode, have not been implemented by the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP), which oversees the ICNP. The absence of certain regulations from the ICNP for the naming of as yet uncultivated prokaryotes is an acceptable scientific argument, although it does not justify the establishment of a separate code. Moreover, the proposals rejected by the ICSP are unnecessary to adequately regulate the naming of uncultivated prokaryotes. To provide a better service to the wider scientific community, an alternative proposal to emend the ICNP is presented, which would result in Candidatus names being regulated analogously to validly published names. This proposal is fully consistent with previous ICSP decisions, preserves the essential unity of nomenclature and avoids the expected nomenclatural confusion.
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