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Sympatric speciation UPSC NOTE

 What is sympatric speciation?

  • New IIT Bombay research shed light on the process of speciation, meaning the formation of new species, in the absence of geographic barriers. 

  • Traditionally, it is believed that speciation largely occurs when populations of a species are isolated from each other by geographical barriers such as mountains or bodies of water. This is called allopatric speciation

  • However, the research suggests that speciation can happen even when populations live in the same area without geographical barriers. This mode of speciation is called sympatric speciation

Significance & Factors influencing

  • In sympatric speciation, the “divide” in the population can be created due to non-uniform resources present in the environment, and geography has no role to play here. 

  • This is called ecological disruptive selection

  • Disruptive selection is a process by which individuals with extreme traits have a higher fitness than those with intermediate traits.  

  • Disruptive selection is necessary for speciation to occur in sympatry because it favours heritable differences in the population and ensures that the offsprings produced by the mating of individuals belonging to two different groups do not survive.

  • These two factors are extremely important for maintaining biodiversity in sympatry

  • Researchers found that sexual selection based on special traits did not contribute to speciation in sympatry

  • Instead, they found that the preference for mates based on a relevant trait that helps in utilising the environmental resources better, was the driving force behind speciation

  • Genetic architecture, or how genes control the trait under selection, was a crucial factor in determining the likelihood of sympatric speciation


  • By demonstrating how sympatric speciation can occur, even with relatively low levels of disruptive selection, the researchers have provided a framework for future experimental studies on biodiversity. 

  • This knowledge could open up new avenues for research and help scientists better understand the mechanisms behind the biodiversity on Earth. 

  • With the imminent threat of climate change, perhaps this can also shed light on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity at large



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Sympatric speciation UPSC NOTE
Sympatric speciation UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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