Coessential Abelianization Morphisms in the Category of Groups An epimorphism $\phi\colon G\to H$ of groups, where $G$ has rank $n$, is called coessential if every (ordered) generating $n$-tuple of $H$ can be lifted along $\phi$ to a generating $n$-tuple for $G$. We discuss this property in the context of the category of groups, and establish a criterion for such a group $G$ to have the property that its abelianization epimorphism $G\to G/[G,G]$, where $[G,G]$ is the commutator subgroup, is coessential. We give an example of a family of 2-generator groups whose abelianization epimorphism is not coessential. This family also provides counterexamples to the generalized Andrews--Curtis conjecture. Keywords:coessential epimorphism, Nielsen transformations, Andrew-Curtis transformationsCategories:20F05, 20F99, 20J15