The mating of related individuals (inbreeding) is important in plant and animal breeding and in human populations, as well as in zoo populations and conservation efforts. The homozygosity due to inbreeding often causes reduced fitness (inbreeding depression), and this is also important in the evolution of systems evolved by organisms to avoid inbreeding.

Keywords: relatedness; identity by descent; inbreeding coefficient; homozygosity; inbreeding depression

Figure 1.

Pedigree with inbreeding. The letters indicate individuals in several generations of descendents of individual A. A is the ancestor of both parents of individual X, that is, X can receive alleles from A via both the B/D lineage and the C/E/F lineage.


Further Reading

Falconer DS and Mackay TFC (1996) Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, 4th edn. Harlow, UK: Longman.

Keller LF and Waller DM (2002) Inbreeding effects in wild populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 230–241.

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How to Cite close
Charlesworth, Deborah(Jul 2006) Inbreeding. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005442]