ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

international code of nomenclature of bacteria

Okay kiddo, let me tell you about the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria. It's basically a set of rules that scientists follow when they name different types of bacteria.

Imagine you have a lot of toys and you need to organize them into different categories. You don't want to confuse your toy cars with your toy trucks, right? It's the same with bacteria. Scientists need to know exactly what type of bacteria they're studying, so they give them names that are easy for everyone to understand.

The code has three main parts: the rules for naming bacteria, the criteria for classifying them into groups, and the guidelines for describing their characteristics.

Let's start with the rules for naming bacteria. Every species of bacteria has a unique name made up of two parts: the genus name and the species name. It's like calling a bulldog a bulldog instead of just a dog. The name has to be in Latin or Latinized, which means using Latin words with endings that tell you what kind of word it is.

Now, how do scientists know which name to give to a new type of bacteria? They have to compare it to all the other bacteria that have been discovered before. If it's different enough from all the rest, they get to give it a brand new name.

The next part of the code is about classifying bacteria into different groups. Just like you have toy cars, trucks, robots, and stuffed animals, bacteria can be sorted based on their characteristics. Scientists use things like shape, size, and the way they move to tell the groups apart.

Finally, the code has guidelines for describing the different aspects of bacteria. This is like writing a manual for each toy you have. Scientists need to be able to describe a bacterium accurately so that others can find it and study it later on.

Overall, the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria is a set of rules that helps scientists name, classify, and describe different types of bacteria so that they can better understand them.