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Not to be confused with heterozygosity.

Heterogamy (from Ancient Greek ἕτερος heteros, "other, another" and γάμος gámos, "marriage") has a number of biological definitions:

  • In reproductive biology, heterogamy is the alternation of differently organized generations, applied to the alternation between parthenogenetic and a sexual generation.[1][2] This type of heterogamy occurs for example in some aphids.
  • In reproductive biology, heterogamy or heterogamous is often used as a synonym of heterogametic, meaning the presence of two unlike chromosomes in a sex.[3][4] For example, XY males and ZW females are called the heterogamous sex.
  • In cell biology, heterogamy is a synonym of anisogamy, the condition of having differently sized male and female gametes produced by different sexes or mating types in a species.
  • In botany, a plant is heterogamous when it carries at least two different types of flowers in regard to their reproductive structures, for example male and female flowers or bisexual and female flowers. Stamens and carpels are not regularly present in each flower or floret.
  • In sociology, heterogamy refers to a marriage between two individuals that differ in a certain criterion, and is contrasted with homogamy for a marriage or union between partners that match according to that criterion. For example, ethnic heterogamy refers to marriages involving individuals of different ethnic groups. Age heterogamy refers to marriages involving partners of significantly different ages. Heterogamy and homogamy are also used to describe marriage or union between people of unlike and like sex (or gender) respectively.

The terms heterogametic and homogametic are related to heterogamy, but distinct.


  1. ^ Scott, Thomas (1996). Concise encyclopedia biology. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-010661-9. 
  2. ^ Poinar, George O, Jr; Trevor A Jackson, Nigel L Bell, Mohd B-asri Wahid (2002-07). "Elaeolenchus parthenonema n. g., n. sp. (Nematoda: Sphaerularioidea: Anandranematidae n. fam.) parasitic in the palm-pollinating weevil Elaeidobius kamerunicus Faust, with a phylogenetic synopsis of the Sphaerularioidea Lubbock, 1861". Systematic Parasitology 52 (3): 219–225. doi:10.1023/A:1015741820235. ISSN 0165-5752. PMID 12075153.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  3. ^ Lokki, Juhani; Esko Suomalainen; Anssi Saura; Pekka Lankinen (1975-03-01). "Genetic Polymorphism and Evolution in Parthenogenetic Animals. Ii. Diploid and Polyploid Solenobia Triquetrella (lepidoptera: Psychidae)". Genetics 79 (3): 513–525. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  4. ^ Hiroki, Masato; Yohsuke Tagami; Kazuki Miura; Yoshiomi Kato (2004-08-22). "Multiple infection with Wolbachia inducing different reproductive manipulations in the butterfly Eurema hecabe.". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 271 (1549): 1751–1755. doi:10.1098/rspb.2004.2769. ISSN 0962-8452. .