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How do reproductive barriers promote speciation?

Reproductive barriers prevent interbreeding between populations, leading to the formation of new species.

Reproductive barriers are mechanisms that prevent individuals from different populations from interbreeding, resulting in the formation of new species. There are two types of reproductive barriers: prezygotic and postzygotic. Prezygotic barriers prevent fertilization from occurring, while postzygotic barriers prevent the development of viable offspring.

Prezygotic barriers include geographical, ecological, behavioural, and temporal isolation. Geographical isolation occurs when populations are physically separated by a geographic barrier, such as a mountain range or a river. Ecological isolation occurs when populations occupy different habitats within the same geographic area. Behavioural isolation occurs when individuals from different populations have different courtship rituals or behaviours. Temporal isolation occurs when populations reproduce at different times of the year.

Postzygotic barriers include hybrid inviability, hybrid sterility, and hybrid breakdown. Hybrid inviability occurs when the offspring of two different species cannot survive. Hybrid sterility occurs when the offspring of two different species are sterile. Hybrid breakdown occurs when the offspring of two different species have reduced fitness.

Reproductive barriers promote speciation by preventing gene flow between populations. Over time, genetic differences accumulate between populations, leading to the formation of new species. Reproductive barriers are therefore essential for the evolution of biodiversity on Earth.

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