new, probably brief subject

Stuart G. Poss Stuart.Poss at USM.EDU
Mon Oct 11 12:10:52 CDT 1999

Is this assertion generally agreed upon  by those who advocate the
Phylogenetic Species Concept?

As we all know from a host of celebrated crimes, it is not only possible to
distinguish subspecific variability, but also variability among virtually all
individuals as well.  Are all individuals, except perhaps identical twins, to
be regarded as different species simply because they are genetically

I am certainly a believer in the concept that it is the individual that is the
unit of selection and that group selection may not exist.  However,  the
concept of subspecies, which implies a limited degree of genetic isolation as
opposed to the total or near total isolation that is the case among the vast
majority of species, is rendered meaningless if one argues that any taxon must
be afforded species status, if it can be shown to be genetically
distinguishable from another to any degree, however slight.  It would seem to
me that describing species on this basis would also be as equally useless.

Doug Yanega wrote:

> I don't think there is any rule or consensus, nor likely to be,
> though one can only suspect that when molecular analyses are done, we'll
> find that virtually every "subspecies" is genetically distinguishable and
> thus (at least to an adherent of the Phylogenetic Species Concept) a valid
> species.

Stuart G. Poss                       E-mail: Stuart.Poss at
Senior Research Scientist & Curator  Tel: (228)872-4238
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory       FAX: (228)872-4204
P.O. Box 7000
Ocean Springs, MS  39566-7000

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