Difference between Heterosis and Inbreeding Depression

Heterosis and Inbreeding depression are techniques used by breeders to obtain traits and characteristics according to their needs. However, it can either lead to enhancement of the characters or reduction in their fitness. Let us explore the differences between these two techniques.


Inbreeding Depression


Heterosis, also known as hybrid vigor, is the enhancement of characteristics in the offspring.

Inbreeding depression is a reduction in fitness in the offspring as a result of inbreeding.


It occurs as a result of cross between two genetically different parents.

It occurs as a result of cross between two closely related parents.


They show superior characteristics than their parents.

They show inferior characteristics in comparison to their parents.


It is the result of outbreeding between two different pure bred lines to increase genetic diversity.

It is the result of continuous inbreeding between two closely related parents.


This technique is exploited by animal breeders to gain high productivity and fertility.

This technique is used to conserve the traits in subsequent generations.

Read about inbreeding depression in detail here.

Visit BYJU’S Biology to learn more.

Also read:


What is an example of heterosis?

Mule, the offspring produced from crossing a donkey and a horse is an example of heterosis. It is more patient and intelligent than donkeys.

What are the different types of heterosis?

On the basis of nature and origin, there are two types of heterosis:
True heterosis and Pseudo heterosis

Why does inbreeding depression occur?

Inbreeding depression occurs when recessive homozygosity of a trait increases in subsequent generations.

How can inbreeding depression be overcome?

An outcross can sometimes help to overcome inbreeding depression.

Which plants do not show inbreeding depression?

Self pollinating plants like rice, wheat and ragi usually do not show inbreeding depression

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