What Are the Rules for Writing Scientific Names?

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There are several rules to remember when writing scientific names; the two main rules are to write the name of a plant or organism with two names, a genus or generic name first, followed by an epithet or species name. These rules govern the proper naming of plant and animals, regardless of species or kingdom. The act of assigning names to various organisms in a structured manner dates back to the 1700s, when scientist Linnaeus developed a precise method for identifying and classifying all living beings.

According to Texas A&M University, there are several rules governing the proper writing of both generic and species names. When writing in binomial nomenclature, the genus name is always written first. Additionally, it appears underlined or in italics. The first letter of the genus name should also be capitalized. The specific epithet, or species name, is written second. Like the generic name, the species name is either underlined or italicized. In contrast to the generic name, however, the first letter of the species name is never capitalized. In addition to standard scientific writing, there are scientific naming systems used to identify mutations (such as different size, growth habitat or color) along with variations that occur in nature.