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Emerging Issues in Virus Taxonomy
Filetype[PDF-137.78 KB]


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  • Alternative Title:
    Emerg Infect Dis
  • Description:
    Viruses occupy a unique position in biology. Although they possess some of the properties of living systems such as having a genome, they are actually nonliving infectious entities and should not be considered microorganisms. A clear distinction should be drawn between the terms virus, virion, and virus species. Species is the most fundamental taxonomic category used in all biological classification. In 1991, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) decided that the category of virus species should be used in virus classification together with the categories of genus and family. More than 50 ICTV study groups were given the task of demarcating the 1,550 viral species that were recognized in the 7th ICTV report, which was published in 2000. We briefly describe the changes in virus classification that were introduced in that report. We also discuss recent proposals to introduce a nonlatinized binomial nomenclature for virus species.
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