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noun, plural: genera

(taxonmy) A taxonomic category ranking used in biological classification that is below a family and above a species level, and includes group(s) of species that are structurally similar or phylogenetically related.

(general) A class or group with common attributes


In binomial nomenclature, the genus is used as the first word of a scientific name. The genus name is always capitalized and italicized. For example, the binomial name of lion is Panthera leo. The first part, Panthera, is the genus name whereas the second part, leo, is the specific epithet.

A taxonomist is the one that assigns a scientific name for a particular species. In order for a genus to be descriptively useful, it must have monophyly, reasonable compactness, and distinctness. Willi Hennig, a German biologist, defined monophyly as groups based on shared derived characteristics or traits that distinguish the group from other groups of organisms. As for reasonable compactness, it means that the genus needs not to be expanded unnecessarily. The genus name must also show distinctness with respect to evolutionary relevant criteria such as ecology, morphology, or biogeography.1

Word origin: from Latin genus "descent, family, type, gender").

Related forms: generic (adjective).

See also:

1 Genus. Retrieved from [[1]].