Evolutionary conceptions of species place special weight on each species having dynamic independence as a unit of evolution. However, the idea that species have their own historical fates, tendencies, or roles has resisted systematic analysis. Growing evidence from population genomics shows that many paradigm species regularly engage in hybridization. How can species be defined in terms of independent evolutionary identities if their genomes are dynamically coupled through lateral exchange? I introduce the concept of a “composite lineage” to distinguish species and subspecies on the basis of the proportion of a group’s heritable traits that are uncoupled from reproductive exchange.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science