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Population Genetics: Limits to Adaptation

Author(s): Lou Gross1, Monica Beals1, Susan Harrell1

University of Tennessee Knoxville

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This module introduces gene flow in the context of understanding the persistence of maladaptive traits in some populations. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 15 Feb 2019 doi:10.25334/Q4RB2C - cite this


Student Introduction: Organisms are generally assumed to exhibit traits that are adaptive to the specifics of the environment in which they are found, as a result of natural selection. Some studies have indicated, however, that certain traits appear to be maladaptive, yet they are maintained within a population. This maladaptation may be a result of genetic constraints (such as a trait that is genetically correlated with another trait that is changing under selection), recent or fluctuating changes in selective pressures, conflicts between natural selection and sexual selection (for example, the long tail feathers of male peacocks), or gene flow (the movement of genes between two or more populations). The latter is the focus of this module.

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