Interspecific hybridization can disrupt normal resistance of plant and animal species to their parasites. Resistance to parasites is affected by hybridization in the following ways: no difference between hybrids and parentals, additivity, hybrid susceptibility, and dominance to susceptibility. Similar patterns were seen across host taxa. Responses of different parasite species vary widely to the same hybrid host, which indicates diverse genetic effects of interspecific hybridization on resistance. Differences between field and common garden or laboratory studies suggest that environmental factors in hybrid zones influence the patterns seen in the field. Based on recent studies of hybrid-parasite interactions, three avenues of future research will provide a more complete understanding of the roles of hybrids and the roles of parasites in host evolution. First, the relationship between inheritance of putative resistance mechanisms of hosts and responses of parasites needs study using analyses of recombinant progenies. Second, the interaction among environmental variation in hybrid zones, resistance mechanisms, responses of parasites, and the impact of parasites on host fitness needs experimental analysis using reciprocal transplant experiments in hybrid zones. Finally, the role of hybrids in the community structure and interactions of parasites needs study.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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