Domestication is Associated with Increased Interspecific Hybrid Compatibility in Landfowl (Order: Galliformes). Academic Article uri icon


  • Some species are able to hybridize despite being exceptionally diverged. The causes of this variation in accumulation of reproductive isolation remain poorly understood, and domestication as an impetus or hindrance to reproductive isolation remains to be characterized. In this study, we investigated the role of divergence time, domestication, and mismatches in morphology, habitat, and clutch size among hybridizing species on reproductive isolation in the bird order Galliformes. We compiled and analyzed hybridization occurrences from literature and recorded measures of postzygotic reproductive isolation. We used a text-mining approach leveraging a historical aviculture magazine to quantify the degree of domestication across species. We obtained divergence time, morphology, habitat, and clutch size data from open sources. We found 123 species pairs (involving 77 species) with known offspring fertility (sterile, only males fertile, or both sexes fertile). We found that divergence time and clutch size were significant predictors of reproductive isolation (McFadden's Pseudo-R 2 = 0.59), but not habitat or morphological mismatch. Perhaps most interesting, we found a significant relationship between domestication and reproductive compatibility after correcting for phylogeny, removing extreme values, and addressing potential biases (F1,74 = 5.43, R 2 = 0.06, p-value = 0.02). We speculate that the genetic architecture and disruption in selective reproductive regimes associated with domestication may impact reproductive isolation, causing domesticated species to be more reproductively labile.

published proceedings

  • J Hered

author list (cited authors)

  • Alfieri, J. M., Hingoranee, R., Athrey, G. N., & Blackmon, H.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Delph, L.

publication date

  • September 2023