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isolating mechanismsIsolationsmechanismen (ger.)

  • Structures that prevent crossbreeding between indivual organisms. (HWB 2011)

    Although the mechanisms preventing free and unlimited interbreeding of related forms are as yet little understood, it is already clear enough that a large number of very differet mechanisms of this kind are functioning in nature. This diversity of the isolating mechanisms is in itself remarkable and difficult to explain.

    Dobzhansky, T. (1935). A critique of the species concept in biology. Philos. Sci. 2, 344-55: 349.


    A species is defined by us as a reproductively isolated group of populations, and it is obvious from this definition that species must possess isolating mechanisms which safeguard this reproductive isolation. Geographic isolation without the development of biological isolating factors cannot lead to species formation

    Mayr, E. (1942). Systematics and the Origin of Species: 247.

    isolating mechanisms are biological properties of individuals that prevent the interbreeding of populations that are actually or potentially sympatric
    Mayr, E. (1963). Animal Species and Evolution: 91.

    isolating mechanisms Any intrinsic or extrinsic mechanism or barrier to the free exchange of genes between populations.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 132.


    The isolating mechanisms of species are devices to protect the integrity of well-balanced, harmonious genotypes. […] Therefore the integrity of species is maintained by natural selection. […] Isolating mechanisms are biological properties of individual organisms that prevent the interbreeding of populations of different species where they are sympatric.

    Mayr, E. (2001). What Evolution Is: 170.