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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a division of botany that studies the taxonomic and population structure of a species, its morphological-geographic, ecological, and genetic differentiation, and its origin and evolution. Biosystematy operates not only with purely taxonomic categories such as species and subspecies but also with genecologic and population-genetic categories—ecotype, biotype, population, and deme (elementary local population) or gamodeme (in amphimictic plants). Biosystematy arose as a science by combining various approaches to the structure and evolution of a species—that is, its problems go beyond the framework of pure taxonomy.

The history of biosystematy began with the work of the Swedish ecologist G. Turesson (1922, 1923) and the American ecologist J. Clausen (1921–22), who studied the ecological and genetic differentiation of species. This new specialty, which Thuresson called genecology (1923), was later formulated in the science that the American botanists W. H. Camp and C. L. Gilly called biosystematy (1943). Genecology remained one of the divisions of biosystematy, studying intraspecies variability in plants. In addition, biosystematy also studies microevolution. In the USSR work in this field was begun as early as the 1920’s by M. A. Ro-zanova, E. N. Sinskaia, and others. Under the guidance of N. I. Vavilov, studies of the ecological-geographic and genetic differentiation of many species of cultivated plants were conducted at the All-Union Institute of Plant Growing. This research had great significance for the subsequent development of biosystematy, although it was rather more related to “differential taxonomy” as understood by N. I. Vavilov.


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Rozanova, M. A. Eksperimental’nye osnovy sistematiki rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Sinskaia, E. N. Dinamika vida. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Zavadskii, K. M. Vid i vidoobrazovanie. Leningrad, 1968.
Takhtadzhian, A. L. “Biosistematika: proshloe, nastoiashchee i budushchee.” Botanicheskii zhurnal, 1970, vol. 55, issue 3.
Heslop-Harrison, J. W. New Concepts in Flowering-plant Taxonomy. London, 1953.
Heslop-Harrison, J. W. “Forty Years of Genecology.” In the collection Advances in Ecological Research, vol. 2. London-New York, 1965.
Davis, P. H., and V. H. Heywood. Principles of Angiosperm Taxonomy. Edinburgh-London, 1963.
Reproductive Biology and Taxonomy of Vascular Plants. Edited by J. G. Hawkes. Oxford, 1966.
Modern Methods in Plant Taxonomy. Edited by V. H. Heywood. London, 1968.
Briggs, D., and S. M. Walters. Plant Variation and Evolution. London, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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