The Basis for Taxonomic Classification by the ICTV

Taxonomy lies at the uneasy interface between biology and logic. The processing of information follows somewhat different rules in these two systems and the role of taxonomy is to reconcile them as tidily as possible. To this end, the Virology Division of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS) charged the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) with the task of developing, refining, and maintaining a universal virus taxonomy. The goal of this undertaking is to categorize the multitude of known viruses into a single classification scheme that reflects their evolutionary relationships, i.e. their individual phylogenies.

These pages provide the information that guide the organization and activities of the ICTV: Its Statutes, Code, and Organizational chart. The Statutes define the governing and management principles of the organization and are approved by the IUMS Virology Division. The rules that govern virus classification and nomenclature are defined in the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature. And the ICTV organization is composed of an Executive Committee, Subcommittees, and Study Groups that create and approve proposals for new and revised taxonomy.