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biont

(pl. bionts)





There are many philosophical problems in biology with the term "individual": what is a bush made from one rose grafted onto another? What is a mycelium that has been split into two parts, each continuing on independently (but if they meet, they will grow back together again)? What is a lichen, an "individual" or a colony? What are the component organisms of a lichen, "individual"s or just components? The term biont is an attempt to solve those problems by the time-honored method of inventing a new term and just saying that it solves the problem. Basically, it means "whatever we used to understand the word 'individual' to mean in a biological sense, back when we were na´ve, before anyone started asking us these nasty questions."

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