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reticulate evolutionretikulate Evolution (ger.)

  • The netlike lineage relation seen for a series of related allopolyploid species. The cross-links represent places where hybridization has occurred and allotetraploid species have arisen. Reticulate evolution is common in plants. (Oxford Dict. of Genetics 2007)

    [There is even some evidence for the reticulate origin of groups larger than the genus.

    Anderson, E. (1934). Origin of the Angiosperms. Nature 133, 462.]


    species-formation may be continuous and unilinear; continuous and divergent; abrupt and convergent; or what, following a recent writer, we may call reticulate, dependent on constant intercrossing and recombination between a number of lines, and thus both convergent and divergent at once. [...]

    The two classical examples of reticulate evolution are the roses and the willows, though similar cases exist in other groups of plants in which species-crossing and chromosome or genome aberrations are prevalent. So far it is not known to exist in animals, except in man.

    Huxley, J.S. (1936). Natural selection and evolutionary progress. Rep. Ann. Meet. Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci. 106, 81-100: 85; 86; id. (1938). Natural history, taxonomy and general biology. South Eastern Naturalist and Antiquary (being the Proceedings and Transactions of the South-Eastern Union of Scientific Societies) 43, 1-21.

    reticulate evolution [...] diversification of type, without proper species formation
    Goldschmidt, R. (1940). The Material Basis of Evolution: 209.

    reticulate evolution

    Elias, M.K. (1942). Tertiary prairie grasses and other herbs from the high plains. Geol. Soc. Amer. Special Papers 41, 1-176; cf. Anonymus (1943). [Rev. Elias, M.K. (1942). Tertiary prairie grasses and other herbs from the high plains]. Amer. Nat. 77, 561-562: 561.

    Reticulate evolution in the Appalachian Aspleniums

    Wagner, W.H. Jr. (1954). Reticulate evolution in the Appalachian Aspleniums. Evolution 8, 103-118.

    In view of the rarity of allopolyploidy and successful hybridization, it is evident that reticulate evolution above the species level plays virtually no role in the higher animals.

    Mayr, E. (1963). Animal Species and Evolution: 135; 420.


    reticulate evolution Evolution dependent on repeated intercrossing between a number of lineages producing a network of relationships in a series of related allopolyploid species; the anastomoses in the network represent sites of hybridization.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 217.