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In biology, a genus (plural: genera) is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia. Genera and higher taxonomic levels such as families are used in biodiversity studies, particularly in fossil studies since species cannot always be confidently identified and genera and families typically have longer stratigraphic ranges than species.


From Proto-Italic *genos, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵénh₁os (“race”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵenh₁- (“to produce, beget”); compare also gēns, from the same root. Cognates include Ancient Greek γένος (génos, “race, stock, kin, kind”), Sanskrit जनस् (jánas, “race, class of beings”), Proto-Celtic *genos (“birth; family”), and English kin.

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