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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. 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. For example, XY males and ZW females are called the heterogamous sex.
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.
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