Binomial Nomenclature Definition
Binomial Nomenclature represents a naming system that categorizes organisms like microorganisms, animals, and plants in different classes or groups and provides a unique name based on the classification. This naming system helps to recognize and distinguish a species from the other related ones and is universally accepted.
What is Binomial Nomenclature?
Binomial nomenclature is employed for naming biological entities and is a widely accepted naming system. An organism can have many native, regional, or local names that make it difficult and confusing to identify the species and further communicate any research findings or observations related to them. A protocol was introduced according to which every organism would have one universally accepted scientific name to eliminate any sort of confusion pertaining to the names.
Characteristics of Binomial Nomenclature
This widely accepted naming system entitles a scientific name to an organism and is also called the binary nomenclature as 2 terms are involved in the nomenclature.
Under the binomial nomenclature, the name of an organism should comprise 2 parts: generic epithet and the specific epithet. The generic epithet denotes the genus name of the organism while the specific epithet part describes the species of the organism.
Both of the 2 parts of the scientific name should be written in italics with the genus name being capitalized. For example, the scientific name of deer is Artiodactyl cervidae.
Carl Linnaeus a Swedish physician and botanist who is also referred to as the founder of modern taxonomy first introduced the binomial nomenclature. In his book Systema Naturae he classified and described many species of animals and plants. In accordance with this system, specific guidelines are followed while restoring to name an organism. Distinctive relevant names are provided to the flora and fauna concerning this algorithm.
The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) provides guidelines for the nomenclature for plants while the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) guides the systematic nomenclature of animals. Both these codes are universally accepted and approved for the naming protocol by biologists around the globe. These protocols and codes help in the global recognition of organisms and in their scientific nomenclature.
Rules of Binomial Nomenclature
1. The scientific name is in Latin and therefore should be written in italics. For instance, the scientific nomenclature of the horse is written as Eqqus caballus.
2. The first part of the scientific name is the generic epithet that identifies the genus while the last part describes the species of the organism. For example, the scientific name of maize is Zea mays, where ‘Zea’ denotes the genus and ‘mays’ the particular species it belongs to.
3. When handwritten the scientific name should be separately underlined and when printed it should be in italics to show their Latin origin. For example, the scientific name of apple is Pyrus maleus.
4. The first word in scientific name that denotes genus name should be capatilized, whereas the species name should start with small letter. For example, Daucas carota is the scientific name of carrot.
5. The scientific name will be written in parentheses when used along eith the common name and it can vary with the publication. For instance “The dolphin (Delphinidae delphis) are considered as marine mammals”.
6. The binomial name should always be written in full along with the 2 parts. When the identical species is talked about repeatedly, or when many species from the identical genus are being listed in the identical paper or report; in such cases the genus should be written in full when used first and could then be abbreviated on reccurences. For instance, Escherichia coli on repetitions can be written as just E. coli.
7. The “sp.” abbreviation is employed when the species named is not specied or not known or not required. The “spp.” Abbreviation denotes the plural, i.e, “several species”. These abbreviations are not to be underlined or italizied. For example, “Felis sp.” denotes an unspecified species, while “ Felis spp.” Refers to 2 or more species of the Felis genus.
8. The “cf.” abbreviation i.e. confer in Latin is employed to link a taxa or an individual with a recognized species. It is usually used when the identification of a an organism had not been fully confirmed as in palentology. For example, “Corvus cf. nasicus” was employed to describe a fossil bird similar to the Cuban crow but has not been identified in the species yet.
9. A dagger image (“†”) can be utilized before or after the scientific name to refer to an extinct species.
Binomial Nomenclature Examples
Banana scientific name: Musa paradiscium
Dog scientific name: Cannis familiaris
Camel nomenclature: Camelus camelidae
Elephant nomenclature– Proboscidea elephantidae
Human scientific name – Homo sapiens
Onion nomenclature– Allium cepa
Lemon binomial name– Citrus limonium
Orange scientific name – Citrus aurantium
Pig nomenclature– Artiodactyla suidae
Pineapple binomial name– Ananus sativus
Potato scientific name – Solanium tuberosum
Rabbit binomial name– Leporidae cuniculas
Watermelon nomenclature– Citrullus vulgaris
Wheat scientific name– Triticum aestivum
Advantages of Binomial Nomenclature
This naming system are easy to understand and remember as they are meaningful, simple, stable, meaningful, and widely accepted. This reveals the evolutionary history of the genus or species and their relation with other organisms. It aids in recognition and distinguishing different related or diverse organisms.
Drawbacks of Binomial Nomenclature
In case there are more than one existing name in use then the priority will be given according to the chronological order and the one used first would be given the right title while the others can be used as senior synonym. There needs to be an emphasis on building more stability into the naming and classification. The names that were in use prior to “Systema Naturae”, by Linnaeus aren’t acknowledged.
- Does the name really matter? The importance of botanical nomenclature and plant taxonomy in biomedical research. J Ethnopharmacol . 2014 Mar 28;152(3):387-92.
- What is in a name? The need for accurate scientific nomenclature for plants. J Ethnopharmacol . 2014 Mar 28;152(3):393-402.
- Toward a consensus nomenclature for insect neuropeptides and peptide hormones. Peptides . 2011 Mar;32(3):620-31.