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Re: Ref for biological species and genus

On Sat, 09 Jul 2005 09:51:37 +0100 Mike Taylor <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>
> Sorry for the ignorant question.  I am looking for the definitive
> reference for the the biological species concept (a population 
> capable
> of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring).  I understand that
> this notion has been extended to define a "biological genus" as a
> population capable of interbreeding to produce live offspring that 
> may
> not be capable of reproducing further -- is there a reference for
> this, too?  Many thanks.

You are probably thinking of Mayr's work, but unfortunately I don't have
the exact ref.  Here is Mayr's def:  "A set of populations capable of
interbreeding with one another but not with populations outside of this

I prefer the following definition, from Nelson & Platnick (1981, p. 14):

"Species are the smallest diagnoseable cluster of self-perpetuating
organisms that have unique sets of characters".