Most biologists are familiar with terms such as ‘hybrid vigour’ and ‘cross fertilization’, and we generally understand the significance of among-population gene flow and inbreeding avoidance. Even the layman has a vague understanding of these concepts, and speaks of ‘bringing in new blood’ to a domestic population that may be in decline. Outbreeding, provided it is not too extreme, is often beneficial to a population and can rejuvenate a ‘tired’ gene pool and reverse the ills of inbreeding depression; it can introduce new characteristics and increase vigour. These genetic concepts can, I think, also be useful when applied to entire fields of study. We in the conservation community could benefit from the experience, perspectives and world views of others, and perhaps avoid reinventing the wheel as we venture into new territories. I believe some cross-fertilization with other fields could enhance our conservation efforts.