I am trying to italicize species names in a caption:

\caption{The results of recoding \textit{A. victoria} towards the $2$-mer frequency distribution of the highly expressed genes of \textit{E. coli}. This visualization was generated with the command \texttt{freqgen visualize -{}-original gfp.fna -{}-target ecoli.heg.yaml -{}-optimized gfp\_ecoli.fna -{}-title "Recoding GFP using Freqgen"}.}

However, it doesn't seem to work:


\texttt is clearly working, so why isn't \textit?

If it is of any help, I am using bioinfo.cls for the journal Bioinformatics.

  • welcome to tex.se! please, always provide small complete document (called mwe: minimal working example) which demonstrate your problem. without it is almost impossible to say, what is going wrong with your caption. – Zarko Oct 2 '18 at 23:16

The issue is due to a typo in bioinfo.cls which has


which points to a non existent phb family, instead of the correct


You solve the issue by doing

\renewcommand{\sfdefault}{phv} % fix the error in the class

<everything that follows>

With the change applied to the sample file and the caption copied from your question, I get the expected result (with the caption in sans serif type).

enter image description here

Actually, the family phb is defined in Karl Berry’s scheme, but it points to the Hobo font, which is quite unlikely used by a scientific journal for its captions. This is the reason why I suspect that bioinfo.cls has just a typo, because phv points instead to the commonly used Helvetica font.


Solved by changing \textit{A. victoria} to {\it A. victoria}.

  • 3
    Just to mention that normally, the two-letter font commands should not be used any more: tex.stackexchange.com/q/15361/35864. But it may well be that the class is using extremely old code or follows bad practices. – moewe Oct 3 '18 at 4:42

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