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(science and technology)
A systematic arrangement of the distinctive names employed in any science.



in botanical, zoological, and microbiological classification, a system of scientific names for each taxonomic group, or taxon. With all the diversity of the organic world, a system of nomenclature ensures uniformity and stability in the scientific names of animals, plants, and microorganisms from the very lowest (intraspecies categories) to the very highest (realms). A nomenclature assigns only one name to each taxon. The choice of the one valid name is determined by a rule of priority according to which the oldest name that has been adopted in conformity with the rules of the nomenclature is considered to be valid; exceptions are handled in a special way.

The idea of binary nomenclature was first suggested by the Swiss natural scientist C. Gesner (1551–87). In 1620 the Swiss biologist G. Bauhin tried to introduce such a system into practice. The French botanist J. P. Tournefort (1694), the Englishman J. Ray (1682, 1686–1704), and a number of other scientists used binary nomenclature, but each of their systems was inconsistent and, as a result, did not enter common usage.

Modern botanical and zoological nomenclatures have developed from the classification system introduced in the classical works of C. Linnaeus (mid-18th century), who was the first to use binary, or binomial, names for all species known to him. The name of the basic category of the system, the species, consists of two words: the first is the name of the genus, and the second is the name of the species (for example, Euonymus verrucosa). The categories higher than the species (for example, genus, family) consist of one word (uninomial names). In zoology, trinomial names, consisting of three words, are common. The last word of the three is the name of the subspecies (for example, Cervus elaphus brauneri). All taxa are given Latin names. The names are considered to be Latin even in cases where they are etymologically related to other languages. Since 1935 the publication of new botanical taxa of presently existing species must be accompanied by a description (diagnosis) in Latin or a reference to a previously published Latin description.

Nomenclatures are developed by special international committees on nomenclature and are then ratified at international botanical and zoological congresses. They are subsequently published in international codes that have the force of legal documents. In view of the specific characteristics of cultivated plants, in particular their numerous varieties and varietal groups, the International Code of Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants has been developed. There is a special code also for the nomenclature of bacteria and other microorganisms.

There are also nomenclatures of names in physiology, biochemistry, and the other biological sciences for different physiologically active substances, such as enzymes.


“Mezhdunarodnyi kodeks botanicheskoi nomenklatury, priniatyi IX Mezhdunarodnym botanicheskim kongressom, Monreal’, avgust 1959.” Botanicheskii zhurnal. 1964, vol. 49, no 4. (Translated from English.)
Mezhdunarodnyi kodeks zoologicheskoi nomenklatury, priniatyi XV Mezhdunarodnym zoologicheskim kongressom. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966. (Translated from English.)
Mezhdunarodnyi kodeks nomenklatury dlia kul’turnykh rastenii 1961. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964. (Translated from English.)
Mayr, E. Printsipy zoologicheskoisistematiki. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)
Klassifikatsiia i nomenklatura fermentov: Otchet komissii po fermentam Mezhdunarodnogo biokhimicheskogo soiuza, 1961. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from English.)
International Code of Botanical Nomenclature: Adopted by the XI International Botanical Congress, Seattle, August 1969. Utrecht, 1972.
“International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria.” International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology. 1966, vol. 16, no. 4.
International Code of Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants: 1969. Utrecht, 1969.
McVaugh, R. R. Ross, and F. A. Stafleu. An Annotated Glossary of Botanical Nomenclature. Utrecht, 1968.


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