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    Proton stability from a fourth family

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    The possibility to violate baryon or lepton number without introducing any new flavor structures, beyond those needed to account for the known fermion masses and mixings, is analyzed. With four generations, but only three colors, this minimality requirement is shown to lead to baryon number conservation, up to negligible dimension-18 operators. In a supersymmetric context, this same minimality principle allows only superpotential terms with an even number of flavored superfields, hence effectively enforces R-parity both within the MSSM and in a GUT context.Comment: Revised and extended. To appear in Phys. Rev.
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