Genetic Drift

Genetic drift or allelic drift is the change in the frequency of a gene variant (allele) in a population due to random sampling. The alleles in the offspring are a sample of those in the parents, and chance has a role in determining whether a given individual survives and reproduces. A population's allele frequency is the fraction of the copies of one gene that share a particular form. Genetic drift may cause gene variants to disappear completely and thereby reduce genetic variation.

When there are few copies of an allele, the effect of genetic drift is larger, and when there are many copies the effect is smaller. Vigorous debates occurred over the relative importance of natural selection versus neutral processes, including genetic drift. Ronald Fisher held the view that genetic drift plays at the most a minor role in evolution, and this remained the dominant view for several decades. In 1968 Motoo Kimura rekindled the debate with his neutral theory of molecular evolution, which claims that most instances where a genetic change spreads across a population (although not necessarily changes in phenotypes) are caused by genetic drift.

Read more about Genetic Drift:  Analogy With Marbles in A Jar, Probability and Allele Frequency, Mathematical Models of Genetic Drift, Drift and Fixation, Genetic Drift Versus Natural Selection, Population Bottleneck, History of The Concept

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Famous quotes containing the words drift and/or genetic:

    But now they drift on the still water,
    Mysterious, beautiful;
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