We know quite a lot about the general structure of ω-stable solvable centerless groups of finite Morley rank. Abelian groups of finite Morley rank are also well-understood. By comparison, nonabelian nilpotent groups are a mystery except for the following general results:
• An ω1-categorical torsion-free nonabelian nilpotent group is an algebraic group over an algebraically closed field of characteristic 0 [Z3].
• A nilpotent group of finite Morley rank is the central product of a definable subgroup of finite exponent and of a definable divisible subgroup [N3].
• A divisible nilpotent group of finite Morley rank is the direct product of its torsion part (which is central) and of a torsion-free subgroup [N3].
However, we do not understand nilpotent groups of bounded exponent. It seems that the classification of nilpotent (but nonabelian) p-groups of finite Morley rank is impossible. Even the nilpotent groups of Morley rank 2 contain insurmountable difficulties [C], [T] . At first glance, this may seem to be an obstacle to proving the Cherlin-Zil'ber conjecture (“simple groups of finite Morley rank are algebraic groups”). Our purpose in this article is to show that if such a group is a definable subgroup of a nonnilpotent group, then it is possible to obtain a classification within the boundaries of our present knowledge. In this respect, our article may be considered as a relief to those who are trying to classify simple groups of finite Morley rank.
Before explicitly stating our result, we need the following definition.