reproductive isolation


: the inability of a species to breed successfully with related species due to geographical, behavioral, physiological, or genetic barriers or differences

Examples of reproductive isolation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As colonialism spread, many Coast Salish traditions—including strict reproductive isolation for the dogs—were eradicated, says Logan Kistler, an anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History who was part of the project. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Jan. 2024 Agar worries that the divisions between the haves and have-nots would eventually be locked in by reproductive isolation. Eliza Strickland, IEEE Spectrum, 27 May 2014 For many years, researchers hypothesized that the initial step had been reproductive isolation: that the early ancestors of the inquilines were normal ants that were reproductively isolated from their kin long enough to diverge genetically from them and become a new species. Viviane Callier, Quanta Magazine, 8 May 2023 But, in time, Wolf had come to believe the opposite: the nature of species could not be understood until the process of speciation—the ebb and flow of genetic differences between populations, and the evolution of reproductive isolation—had been clarified. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2021 The genomes of common ravens in western North America record evidence of a speciation reversal: two ancient populations diverged for one to two million years—long enough, normally, for most birds to evolve reproductive isolation—and then fused back together. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2021 There would be ones that have just begun to split, showing reproductive isolation, and those that might still look like one species but haven't interbred for thousands of years. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 19 Dec. 2011 Wright also alludes to concepts such as allopatric speciation and postzygotic reproductive isolation which have spawned an enormous literature, and are the stuff of careers.. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 23 Aug. 2010 In theory, the GRC could have created the reproductive isolation needed for new species to evolve by rendering those individuals that carried the extra chromosome unable to interbreed and produce fertile offspring with those that did not. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reproductive isolation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1949, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reproductive isolation was in 1949

Dictionary Entries Near reproductive isolation

Cite this Entry

“Reproductive isolation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

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