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Barriers that interfere with the generation or propagation of progeny that are products of matings and hybridization such as can occur between evolutionary divergent populations of organisms.
Reproductive isolating mechanisms can be distinguished into what are known as prezygotic barriers versus postzybotic barriers, or alternatively prezygotic isolating mechanisms and postzygotic isolating mechanisms. That is, another name for reproductive isolating mechanisms is reproductive barrier.
The presence of reproductive isolating mechanisms is crucial both in defining what it is to be a species and how the process of speciation occurs. See also reproductive isolation.
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