Sympatric speciation refers to a process by which evolution of new species from one ancestral species occur while inhabiting a similar geographic region. In biogeography and evolutionary biology, sympatry and sympatric are the terms that are used in reference to organisms that have overlapping ranges or ones that are identical making them to occur together even once in certain species.
If the organisms are related closely for instance, sister species, the distribution might be due to sympatric speciation. In etymological terms, sympatry comes from the Greek word together with and fatherland or homeland. Poulton invented the term in 1904 and he explains his derivation.
Sympatric speciation refers to one of the three traditional and geographic categories of speciation phenomenon. Allopatric speciation refers to evolution of the populations that are isolated geographically into different species. As such, absence of the glow of genes facilitates divergence which tends to maintain similarity in the genetic of the populations.
Parapatric speciation refers to evolution of the populations that are geographically adjacent into different species. In such cases, divergence takes place despite the limited interbreeding in which contact is established between the diverging groups. No geographic constraint hinders interbreeding in sympatric speciation. These are special cases categories of the continuum from sympatric or zero to allopatric or complete spatial segregation of the diverging groups.
In the eukaryotic multi-cellular organisms, sympatric speciation is usually thought of as an uncommon though plausible process where genetic divergence via reproductive isolation of different populations from one parent species inhabiting a similar geographic location leads to the creation of another species.
However, in bacteria analogous process can be more common. This is because bacterial are not constrained by homogenizing effects that sexual reproduction has as well as prone to the comparatively rapid and dramatic genetic change via horizontal gene transfer. Analogous process in bacteria is defined as origin of the new species of bacteria that occupy the definable ecological niches.
In simple terms, sympatric speciation can occur in different instances including when individuals of different species reproduces forming an offspring that is viable such as extra chromosomes coming from different species due to allopolyploid. It can also occur when extra set of the chromosomes in polyploidy comes from the individual due to failure by the gamete to undergo cytokinesis upon the completion of meiosis.
Sympatric speciation may also occur when an individual develops abnormal chromosomes’ number with fewer or extra chromosomes. A species can have an abnormal chromosomes’ number and then interbreed with another member of a population with similar abnormal chromosomes number resulting in the development of a different species.
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