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Unformatted text preview: Maintenance of Genetic Diversity Levels of genetic diversity result from the joint impacts of: Mutation & migration adding variation Chance & directional selection removing variation Balancing selection impeding its loss The balance between these factors depends strongly on population size and differs across characters. Conservation biologists need to understand how genetic diversity is maintained through natural processes if conservation programs are to be designed for its maintenance in managed populations. Maintenance of extensive genetic diversity in natural populations is one of the most important, largely unresolved, questions of evolutionary genetics. The balance of forces maintaining genetic diversity differs between large and small populations. Selection has a major impact in large populations. However, its impacts are greatly reduced in small populations where genetic drift has an increasingly important role. Genetic diversity provides the raw material for evolutionary adaptive change. Mutation is the ultimate source of ALL genetic variation. Mutation and migration from conspecific populations or closely related species are the only mechanisms for restoring lost genetic diversity. diversity....
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