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Hybridization of Plant and Animal Species

  • By: Laura R. Lewis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Hybridization is a fundamental evolutionary process that can lead to further differentiation by the creation of unique individuals or new evolutionary significant units that eventually may become new species. However, hybridization can also create significant barriers on the path to diversification by allowing gene flow between two related yet distinct individuals or populations that will decrease the differentiation between them. Charles Darwin devoted Chapter 9 of The Origin ofSpecies to the discussion of hybridization and the outcomes that result from two distinct species or populations reproducing to create unique offspring—whether viable or sterile. The processes of hybridization as well as the offspring that are generated through this method are of great importance to biogeographers and other natural and physical scientists who are investigating speciation ...

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