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Biosystems. 1992;28(1-3):1-14.

Should there be a separate code of nomenclature for the protists?


The present Botanical and Zoological Codes of Nomenclature are often inadequate for resolution of all the peculiar problems caused by the very nature of the numerous and diverse groups of the so-called 'lower' eukaryotic organisms known as protists. Whether or not a separate code should therefore be created for these species--many but not all of which are unicellular in structure and microscopic in size--is complicated by several factors. The principal one is related to the wide dispersal of protists throughout many taxonomic classes and phyla/divisions; sometimes even multiple kingdoms are involved. If recognition of a single kingdom Protista is no longer tenable, then even the concept of one code per kingdom is not applicable. Other difficulties arise primarily from long-standing differences in major provisions of present Botanical and Zoological Codes. Numerous 'ambiregnal' forms exist, species currently under dual code jurisdiction. The matter of names for suprafamilial taxa of protists, irrespective of their ultimate kingdom assignment, poses another set of concerns not yet resolved. A plea is made to recognize the legitimacy of having distinct high-level ranks for protist species that seem to be widely separated phylogenetically from fellow protists or from other eukaryotic assemblages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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