Evolutionary mechanisms part 7: Gene flow

The Logic of Science

So far in this series, we have talked about natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, and mutations, but that still leaves us with one final and very important evolutionary mechanism: gene flow. This simply refers to the movement of genetic information among populations (migration, for example, causes gene flow). At the surface, that may sound quite simple and boring, but it is actually fascinating, complex, and immensely important. For example, gene flow often plays a critical role in determining whether or not an organism will speciate (i.e., split into two species). Similarly, gene flow interacts with genetic drift and selection, and low levels of gene flow may predispose a population for extinction, whereas high levels may be equally harmful by preventing a population from adapting. Therefore, in the final post of this series, I want to talk about gene flow and explain how it interacts with…

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