genus

/genus

genus

(pl. genera) taxonomic group. composed of species having similar fundamental traits. Botanical classification under the family level and above the specific epithet level.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
genus (noun)
1.
a class, kind, or group marked by common characteristics or by one common characteristic , specifically a category of biological classification ranking between the family and the species, comprising structurally or phylogenetically related species or an isolated species exhibiting unusual differentiation, and being designated by a Latin or latinized capitalized singular noun
2.
a class of objects divided into several subordinate species
genus
genus (Wikipedia)
"Genera" redirects here. For the operating system, see Genera (operating system). For other uses, see Genus (disambiguation).
LifeDomainKingdomPhylumClassOrderFamilyGenusSpecies
The hierarchy of biological classification's eight major taxonomic ranks. A family contains one or more genera. Intermediate minor rankings are not shown.

A genus (/ˈnəs/, pl. genera) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

E.g. Felis catus and Felis silvestris are two species within the genus Felis. Felis is a genus within the family Felidae.

The composition of a genus is determined by a taxonomist. The standards for genus classification are not strictly codified, so different authorities often produce different classifications for genera. There are some general practices used, however, including the idea that a newly defined genus should fulfill these three criteria to be descriptively useful:

  1. monophyly – all descendants of an ancestral taxon are grouped together (i.e. phylogenetic analysis should clearly demonstrate both monophyly and validity as a separate lineage ).
  2. reasonable compactness – a genus should not be expanded needlessly; and
  3. distinctness – with respect to evolutionarily relevant criteria, i.e. ecology, morphology, or biogeography; DNA sequences are a consequence rather than a condition of diverging evolutionary lineages except in cases where they directly inhibit gene flow (e.g. postzygotic barriers).

Moreover, genera should be composed of phylogenetic units of the same kind as other (analogous) genera.

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