What is Meant By Hybrid?

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Hybrid Definition: In biology, a Hybrid meaning says that it can be defined as the outcome of sexual reproduction integrating the characteristics of two organisms of different breeds, species, varieties, animals, or genera. Hybrids aren't necessarily intermediates amongst their parents (as in merging inheritance), but they do exhibit hybrid vigour, getting bigger or taller than both of the parents.

In animal and plant breeding, wherein the individual parentage is essential, the Hybrid definition is perceived differently. The number of chromosomes is a major topic of discussion in genetics. In taxonomy, along with what is a hybrid, one of the most important questions is how strongly the parent species are linked.

Strong obstacles to hybridisation, such as genetic and morphological variations, varying times of fertility, mating habits and signals, and physiological exclusion of sperm cells or the growing embryo, keep species reproductively separated. Others have an effect before fertilisation, and some have an effect after fertilisation. Plants suffer significant obstacles, with variations in flowering times, pollen tube growth inhibition, pollen vectors, cytoplasmic-genetic male sterility, somatoplastic sterility, and chromosome structure. Even so, hybrid genetics speciation has resulted in the doubling of the number of chromosomes in certain animal species and yet many plant species, such as essential crop plants like wheat.

What is Hybridization in Biology?

Interbreeding amongst two different species (interspecific hybridization) or genetically divergent organisms from the very same species (intraspecific hybridization) is the process of hybridization. Hybridization produces viable, partly fertile, or sterile offspring.

Animals do not hybridise as frequently or as effectively as plants do. Pollen from flowering plants travels far and large, landing on the flowers of certain other species. Polyploidy (chromosomal doubling) occurs more commonly in plants and aids hybrid offspring fertility.

In western Montana, a hybridization between the elegant sego lily ( Calochortus selwayensis ) and a mariposa lily ( Calochortus apiculatus ) is a good example of plant hybridization. The purple-spotted sego lily grows in dry areas of the Rocky Mountains at mid-elevations, underneath the open canopy of ponderosa pine forests.

Application of Hybridization: The identification of a diverse variety of infectious agents, the analysis of human chromosomal aberrations, the identification of several genes that are liable for inherited diseases, as well as the description of gene rearrangement and oncogene amplification in several tumours are all examples of current applications of hybridization.

Hybrid in Different Taxa With Hybrid Examples

In Animals:

  • Mammals: The mule, a mix between a male donkey and a female horse, and the hinny, a hybrid between a male horse and a female donkey, are two well-known equid hybrids. Reciprocal hybrids are sets of complementary species like the mule and hinny. Hybrid camels, a hybrid between a bactrian camel and a dromedary, are one of the mammal crosses. The liger, for example, is one of many field hybrids.

In the year 2014, the first case of hybrid speciation in marine mammals was reported. The clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) is a cross between the spinner and striped dolphins of the Atlantic. Scientists reported in 2019 that a skull discovered 30 years ago was a combination of the beluga whale and the narwhal, called the narluga.

  • Birds: Hybrid birds known as mules amongst finch species, including goldfinch and canary, are sometimes bred by caged bird breeders.

  • Amphibians: Japanese giant salamanders and Chinese giant salamanders have hybridised, putting Japanese giant salamanders at risk of extinction due to competition for common needs and resources in Japan.

  • Fish: In 2012, the eastern coast of Australia discovered a group of around fifty natural hybrids between the larger common blacktip shark and the Australian blacktip shark.

When sperm from that of the paddlefish and eggs from the sturgeon were mixed in captivity, the result was surprisingly viable offspring. A sturddlefish is the name for this hybrid.

  • Invertebrates: Killer bees had unintentionally been produced by insects when trying to evolve a bee strain which would yield enough honey and even be best suited to tropical conditions. A European honey bee and an African bee were crossed to achieve this.

The Colias eurytheme and Colias philodice butterflies are genetically compatible enough to develop viable hybrid offspring.

In Plants: 

Plants hybridise quite easily than species of animals, and the hybrids that arise are much more fertile. Numerous plant organisms are the product of hybridization and polyploidy, wherein the chromosomes were duplicated. Chromosome replication allows for orderly meiosis and the development of viable seed. Plant hybrids are typically offered titles which contain a "" (not in italics), for instance Platanus acerifolia, a natural hybrid of P. occidentalis (American sycamore) and P. orientalis (oriental plane).

As seen in Prunus persica Prunus americana, the parent's titles could be held in their entirety, mostly with the female parent's name mentioned first, or if not identified, the parent's names presented alphabetically.

Plant species which are genetically identical and compatible may not hybridise throughout the natural world due to a variety of factors such as geographical isolation, flowering time variations, or pollinator differences. Species placed together within gardens through humans can naturally hybridise, or hybridization could be aided by human labor including artificial pollination or changing the flowering period. Humans occasionally produce hybrids in order to produce better plants with characteristics from both parent species.

In Humans:

There has been evidence of hybridization amongst human populations and other Homo groups. Instead of  most Sub-Saharan Africans, the Neanderthal genome project revealed in 2010 that 1–4% of DNA from across all living people today is of Neanderthal ancestry.

After integrating the genomes of 600 Europeans and East Asians, researchers discovered that they represented 20% of the Neanderthal genome in the current world population. Neanderthals, Denisovans, or at most the one extinct Homo group coexisted and interbred with prehistoric human populations. As a result of introgression, Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA has been mixed into human DNA.

The Lapedo boy, a total prehistoric skeleton discovered in Portugal in 1998, included anatomically modern human and Neanderthal characteristics. Human-Neanderthal hybrids are represented by ancient human skulls with particularly large nasal cavities as well as oddly shaped braincases. A 37,000–42,000-year-old human jawbone discovered in Romania's Oase cave features a representation of Neanderthal ancestry[a] dating back just four to six generations. Most Neanderthal genes are inherited from Neanderthal fathers and human mothers throughout the modern human population.

The mitochondrial DNA of Neanderthals has only been passed down via the maternal lineage, according to a Neanderthal skull discovered in Italy in 1957, however the skull does have a chin shape resembling modern humans. It's thought to be the product of a human mother and a Neanderthal father.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why are Hybrids Unable to Reproduce?

Ans. Hybrid animals are tend to be infertile as they lack viable sex cells, which means they are unable to generate sperm or eggs. This is due to the fact that their chromosomes from distinct species parents do not align.

2. What Issues Do Hybrids Have to Deal With?

Ans. Hybrids may create issues for their parent species in certain situations. Food, territory, and other resources may be in competition. It's possible that they'll fight for friends. They can also alter one or both of the original species' genetic makeup.

3. What is Offspring?

Ans. Offspring are living organisms' young ones that are created by a single organism or, mostly in the situation of sexual reproduction, via two organisms. In a broader sense, a brood or progeny refers to a group of offspring. This may apply to a group of offspring born at the same time, such as chicks hatched from a single clutch of eggs, or to most offspring, like in the case of the honeybee.