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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Sep 12;363(1505):2805-11. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0055.

Introduction. Extent, processes and evolutionary impact of interspecific hybridization in animals.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, J. W. Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, 60054 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. k.schwenk@bio.uni-frankfurt.de

Abstract

Since the time of Charles Darwin, studies of interspecific hybridization have been a major focus for evolutionary biologists. Although this phenomenon has often been viewed as problematic in the fields of ecology, taxonomy and systematics, it has become a primary source of data for studies on speciation and adaptation. Effects from genetic/evolutionary processes, such as recombination and natural selection, usually develop over extended periods of time; however, they are accelerated in cases of hybridization. Interspecific hybrids exhibit novel genomes that are exposed to natural selection, thus providing a key to unravel the ultimate causes of adaptation and speciation. Here we provide firstly a historic perspective of hybridization research, secondly a novel attempt to assess the extent of hybridization among animals and thirdly an overview of the reviews and case studies presented in this theme issue.

PMID:
18534946
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2453525
Free PMC Article

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