Genetic diversity couldn't save Darwin's finches

A study by the University of Cincinnati found that Charles Darwin's famous finches defy what has long been considered a key to evolutionary success: genetic diversity.

Research bias may leave some primates at risk

Recent primate research has had a heavy focus on a few charismatic species and nationally protected parks and forests, leaving some lesser known primates and their habitats at risk, according researchers at The University ...

An update on the ongoing coral disease outbreak in Florida

Florida's coral reefs are experiencing a multi-year outbreak of stony coral tissue loss disease. Here is a description of the problem, what NOAA and partners are doing in response to the problem, and how you can help.

How to restore a coral reef

New guidelines drafted by a consortium of concerned experts could enable corals to adapt to changing environments and help restore declining coral populations in the Caribbean. The guidelines provide a definitive plan for ...

Restoring the American chestnut by researching its genome

At the turn of the 20th century, the American chestnut accounted for a quarter of the hardwood trees in some parts of Appalachia. The large tree was a crucial food source, producing nuts that were a staple in the diets of ...

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Genetic diversity

Genetic diversity is a level of biodiversity that refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary.

The academic field of population genetics includes several hypotheses and theories regarding genetic diversity. The neutral theory of evolution proposes that diversity is the result of the accumulation of neutral substitutions. Diversifying selection is the hypothesis that two subpopulations of a species live in different environments that select for different alleles at a particular locus. This may occur, for instance, if a species has a large range relative to the mobility of individuals within it. Frequency-dependent selection is the hypothesis that as alleles become more common, they become less fit. This is often invoked in host-pathogen interactions, where a high frequency of a defensive allele among the host means that it is more likely that a pathogen will spread if it is able to overcome that allele.

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