Increase in such characteristics as size, growth rate, fertility, and yield of a hybrid organism over those of its parents. Plant and animal breeders exploit heterosis by mating two different purebred lines that have desirable traits. The first-generation offspring generally show, in greater measure, the desired characteristics of both parents. Since this vigour may decrease if the hybrids are actually mated together, the parental lines must be maintained and crossed for each new crop or group desired.

Variants of HETEROSIS

heterosis or hybrid vigor

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on heterosis, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up heterosis? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.