The wild relatives of livestock and crops are disappearing

"Transformative change" is needed to prevent a million species going extinct, according to a new report on the world's biodiversity. Based on information gathered over three years from land, freshwater and marine ecosystems, ...

Embracing bioinformatics in gene banks

The preservation of plant biodiversity is the task of the roughly 1,750 gene banks distributed around the world. They store plant samples and sometimes additional phenotypic or genetic information of around 7.4 million accessions ...

Global data resource shows genetic diversity of chickens

A total of 174 chicken breeds are described in a publicly accessible database which scientists from the University of Göttingen and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Neustadt-Mariensee have built up in recent years with ...

Wheat myth debunked by a major new study

The myth that modern wheat varieties are more heavily reliant on pesticides and fertilisers is debunked by new research published in Nature Plants today.

Signs of selection in the stomach

Helicobacter pylori, a globally distributed gastric bacterium, is genetically highly adaptable. Microbiologists at LMU have now characterized its population structure in individual patients, demonstrating an important role ...

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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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