Inbreeding

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Inbreeding is the reproduction from the mating of two genetically related parents, which can increase the chances of offspring being affected by recessive or deleterious traits. This generally leads to a decreased fitness of a population, which is called inbreeding depression. Deleterious alleles causing inbreeding depression can subsequently be removed through culling, which is also known as genetic purging.

Livestock breeders often practice controlled breeding to eliminate undesirable characteristics within a population, which is also coupled with culling of what is considered unfit offspring, especially when trying to establish a new and desirable trait in the stock.

In plant breeding, inbred lines are used as stocks for the creation of hybrid lines to make use of the heterosis effect. Inbreeding in plants also occurs naturally in the form of self-pollination.

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Inbreeding may result in a far higher phenotypic expression of deleterious recessive genes within a population than would normally be expected.[1] As a result, first-generation inbred individuals are more likely to show physical and health defects, including:

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