What is Genetic Drift and How Does it Operate?
Genetic drift is one of the most important forces of evolution. It is defined as the change in the gene frequency of a population due to the random sampling of individuals in that population. In other words, it is the random change in the genetic makeup of a population over time.
What Causes Genetic Drift?
Genetic drift is caused by the random sampling of individuals in a population. In a small population, the chance of a particular gene being passed on to the next generation is reduced because there are fewer individuals in the population. This means that the chances of a random mutation becoming widespread in the population are also reduced.
How Does Genetic Drift Affect Evolution?
Genetic drift can have a significant effect on evolution. As the gene frequency of a population changes, the phenotype (appearance) of the population also changes. This can lead to the formation of new species, or the extinction of existing species.
Examples of Genetic Drift
An example of genetic drift is the “founder effect”. This is when a small group of individuals becomes isolated from the larger population and forms a new population with a different gene frequency. This can lead to rapid genetic changes in the new population, which can have a significant effect on the evolution of the species.
Genetic drift is a powerful force of evolution and can have a profound effect on the genetic makeup of a species. It is caused by the random sampling of individuals in a population and can lead to the formation of new species or the extinction of existing species.