How to Name and Classify Your Phage: An Informal Guide

Viruses. 2017 Apr 3;9(4):70. doi: 10.3390/v9040070.


With this informal guide, we try to assist both new and experienced phage researchers through two important stages that follow phage discovery; that is, naming and classification. Providing an appropriate name for a bacteriophage is not as trivial as it sounds, and the effects might be long-lasting in databases and in official taxon names. Phage classification is the responsibility of the Bacterial and Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee (BAVS) of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). While the BAVS aims at providing a holistic approach to phage taxonomy, for individual researchers who have isolated and sequenced a new phage, this can be a little overwhelming. We are now providing these researchers with an informal guide to phage naming and classification, taking a "bottom-up" approach from the phage isolate level.

Keywords: bacteriophages; classification guide; naming guide; phage classification; phage taxonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / classification*
  • Terminology as Topic*