In the linnean and neolinnean systems of biological classification, the taxonomic ranking below species. The subspecies comprises related organisms or populations that are potentially capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring by natural reproduction and but may not actually do so because of geographic barriers. Typically they have a distinctive set of traits that sets them apart from other subspecies within the same species. The concept of a subspecies has been rendered more or less irrelevant by germline engineering, tweaking and other forms of biotech. Nevertheless, as with species, the term is still popularly used as a convenient label for types of organic lifeforms.
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Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 31 December 2001.