Scientific Nomenclature says that:

Italics are used for bacterial and viral taxa at the level of family and below. All bacterial and many viral genes are italicized. Serovars of Salmonella enterica are not italicized

When a sentence with a viral name is in an italicized environment (in a quote, in a reference list), should it be written in italics or roman? In latex, the \emph command provides such a relative "emphasis", with respect to the surrounding sentence.

1 Answer 1


The general advice is to revert to roman within a block of italics. Here are a couple of sources:

  • That was my natural idea. But I have hard times convincing my biologist colleagues Apr 20, 2016 at 14:37
  • 1
    @LaurentDuval Perhaps the references to style guides would help. If you have style guides your colleagues consider authoritative, check there as well. If it's cast as aesthetics, though, all bets are off since beauty is in the eye of the beholder :) . Note the reason for italics, though - it's not really effective as 'heavy' emphasis (same font weight); it simply distinguishes one set of text from its surroundings. Toggling between italics and roman achieves that purpose. To make something stand out, use bold, underline, outline fonts, etc instead.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 20, 2016 at 14:51

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