When to use italics

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

Making a decision about when to use italics in Radiopaedia.org articles is important because the addition of bold and italic words in prose actually reduces readability.

In literature, italics can be used for a number of things, including titles of works and foreign words. However, in order to keep things simple and to maximise readability, we have decided to only use italics in very specific situations.


Naming organisms

Occasionally, we will refer to organisms in an article. Where we do, we should use the genus and species of the organism, and both should be italicised. The genus should also be capitalised and if abbreviated, be followed by a full stop (period):

  • Escherichia coli
  • E. coli
Gene nomenclature

Occasionally we will use short gene symbols in articles e.g. the symbol for caeruloplasmin is CP, by scientific convention, the gene is italicised i.e. CP, whilst the protein product, CP, remains in standard typeface. This does not apply to the long name of the gene so that caeruloplasmin is the name - and written in the same typeface - for both the gene and its protein product.

Since there are very few examples of where we correctly use italics on the site, if you are unsure, do not use them.


The name of our website is written without the use of either bold or italics, except in cases where the use of bold as defined in our style guide applies. The first sentence of this article serves as an example.

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Article information

rID: 31051
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Italics
  • Usage of italics

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