Standard Article


  1. Deborah Charlesworth

Published Online: 15 JUL 2006

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0005442



How to Cite

Charlesworth, D. 2006. Inbreeding. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2006


The mating of related individuals (inbreeding) is important in plant and animal breeding and in human populations, as well as in zoo populations and conservation efforts. The homozygosity due to inbreeding often causes reduced fitness (inbreeding depression), and this is also important in the evolution of systems evolved by organisms to avoid inbreeding.


  • relatedness;
  • identity by descent;
  • inbreeding coefficient;
  • homozygosity;
  • inbreeding depression