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Trends Ecol Evol. 1996 May;11(5):201-6.

Inbreeding avoidance in animals.

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Anne Pusey and Marisa Wolf are at the Dept of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St Paul, MN 55108, USA.


The phenomenon of inbreeding depression is well documented and behavioral adaptations for inbreeding avoidance have been described. However, there is debate over whether inbreeding depression is always an important selective force on behavior. Here, we summarize recent evidence for inbreeding depression under natural conditions, review inbreeding avoidance mechanisms, and discuss how these are influenced by social structure. We also examine the idea that animals have evolved mechanisms to avoid outbreeding.


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