Biology as Poetry: Evolutionary Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group


Consequence of sexual reproduction between parents that inhabit otherwise separate gene pools.

The product of hybridization is a hybrid. The problem for parents with conceiving a hybrid is the potential for postzygotic reproductive barriers, which is to say that hybrids have a potential to display a lower fitness than their parents.

The potential to produce hybrids that display a reduced fitness, as in comparison with either parent, tends to select for prezygotic barriers to hybridization. Alternatively, if there is no such reduction in fitness then there should be no selection against hybridization.

In either case, it is attempts to produce hybrids that drives the evolution of prezygotic barriers that, more than any other aspect, is defining of speciation events. Alternatively, the low-level gene flow between populations that can occur as a consequence of hybrization events is termed introgression.

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