| The PhyloCode is a formal set of rules
governing phylogenetic nomenclature. It is designed to name the parts of
the tree of life by explicit reference to phylogeny. The PhyloCode will
go into operation in a few years, but the exact date has not yet been determined.
It is designed so that it may be used concurrently with the existing codes
based on Linnaean nomenclature (ICBN, ICZN, etc.). We anticipate that many
people whose research concerns phylogeny will find phylogenetic nomenclature
The PhyloCode grew out of a workshop at Harvard University in August
1998, where basic decisions were made about its scope and content. Many
of the workshop participants, together with a few other people who subsequently
joined the project, have served as an advisory body (see the PhyloCode preface
for a list of the people involved).
The current draft of the PhyloCode represents several years of work
but is still provisional. Some rules will undoubtedly change before the
code is finalized, and more examples will be added for clarification. In
spite of these shortcomings, the time has come to solicit comments and ideas
from a broader spectrum of systematists. We hope that many members of the
scientific community will examine the draft PhyloCode and send suggestions
for improvement. Although the code has initially been developed by a small
group of people, it is intended for the benefit of all biologists who name
clades or use clade names. The more people who help to perfect it, the better
it will function.
This draft of the PhyloCode governs only the naming of clades.
Rules governing species names will be added to a later version, but it is
not clear at this time whether this will be done before or after the rules
for clade names are implemented. Some parts of the current draft may be
modified as a result of future decisions regarding the naming of species.
Because the code does not currently cover species names, the examples in
the present draft use Linnaean binomials when species names are cited in
the phylogenetic definitions of clade names. This is a temporary situation
and should not be interpreted as implying acceptance of Linnaean binomial
There remains substantial disagreement within the advisory group
on the form that species names should take in phylogenetic nomenclature,
and involvement of the community of biologists in this important decision
is essential. A variety of forms that species names might take under phylogenetic
nomenclature are detailed and discussed in a paper in Systematic Biology
(48: 790-807. 1999). We hope that many people will read this paper and send
their thoughts about how the PhyloCode should deal with species names to
the e-mail address provided below.
Please send your comments on any aspect of the PhyloCode to
If you would like to join an internet discussion group focusing on phylogenetic nomenclature, send a message
to email@example.com. The message should read: "subscribe PhyloCode" (without the quotation
marks). Do not include anything else in the message. In a short time, you
should receive an automatic reply explaining how to send messages to
the discussion group.
Page created on April 9, 2000. Last modified
on July 1, 2002.
Web site maintained by Philip Cantino.
Web design by Andrew Cantino.
Logo by Rick Ree.
We are grateful to Richard
Piccard, Academic Technology Manager in Computer Services at Ohio University, for technical support,
and to Andy Anderson for preparing the downloadable MS-Word
and PDF files.