Conservation Genetics - Importance of Genetic Diversity

Importance of Genetic Diversity

If genetic diversity becomes low at many genes of a species, that species becomes increasingly at risk. It has only one possible choice of information at all or nearly all of its genes—in other words, all the individuals are nearly identical. If new pressures (such as environmental disasters) occur, a population with high genetic diversity has a greater chance of having at least some individuals with a genetic makeup that allows them to survive. If genetic diversity is very low, none of the individuals in a population may have the characteristics needed to cope with the new environmental conditions. Such a population could be suddenly wiped out.

The genetic diversity of a species is always open to change. No matter how many variants of a gene are present in a population today, only the variants that survive in the next generation can contribute to species diversity in the future. Once gene variants are lost, they cannot be recovered.

Read more about this topic:  Conservation Genetics

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