Evolution without species: The case of mosaic bacteriophages

College of Medicine, University of South Alabama Mobile, AL 36688-0002, USA wbp501{at}jaguar1.usouthal.edu ' + u + '@' + d + ' '//-->   Abstract Recent work in viral genomics has shown that bacteriophages exhibit a high degree of mosaicism, which is most likely due to a long history of prolific horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Given these findings, we argue that each of the most plausible attempts to properly classify bacteriophages into distinct species fail. Mayr's biological species concept fails because there is no useful viral analog to sexual reproduction. Phenetic species concepts fail because they obscure the mosaicism and the rich reticulated viral histories. Phylogenetic species concepts, even when extended to take into account reticulation, fail because there is no non-arbitrary distinction between recombination events that create a new viral species and those that do not. There is good reason to think that bacteriophages, arguably the Earth's most abundant biological agent, evolve without forming species. Introduction The Biology of Viruses 2.1 Bacteriophage life cycles 2.2 Mechanisms of HGT The Species Problem and Species Concepts 3.1 Phenetic species concepts 3.2 The biological species concept 3.3 Phylogenetic species concepts 3.4 The ecological species concept 3.5 Homeostatic property cluster species Viruses and Species Taxonomy Reticular Phylogenies Conclusion CiteULike     Connotea     Del.icio.us     What's this?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axn038
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,305
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
David L. Hull (1978). A Matter of Individuality. Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
Philip Kitcher (1984). Species. Philosophy of Science 51 (2):308-333.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

50 ( #95,804 of 1,932,583 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #114,865 of 1,932,583 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.