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Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Dec 15;41(12):1752-5. Epub 2005 Nov 4.

Pneumocystis carinii: has the name really been changed?

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


The proposed renaming of Pneumocystis carinii has caused much confusion and controversy among authors, peer reviewers, editors, and interested readers. Proponents of the new nomenclature emphasize the fact that the new names are judged to be "valid" by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. What is generally not appreciated is the fact that the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature does not make any determination as to the scientific correctness of proposed names; rather, it mandates the process of naming an organism. Thus, acknowledgement by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature that new names for P. carinii have been validly published does not mandate their use. Rather, the scientific community interested in P. carinii needs to be aware of the issues involved in changing the name and then decide for themselves as to the correctness of the newly proposed names. Use of the newly proposed names for P. carinii should not be mandated by journal reviewers or editors.

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