Genetic Drift Allele frequencies can change due to chance alone. This is called genetic drift. Drift is a binomial sampling error of the gene pool. What this means is, the alleles that form the next generation's gene pool are a sample of the alleles from the current generation. When sampled from a population, the frequency of alleles differs slightly due to chance alone. Alleles can increase or decrease in frequency due to drift. The average expected change in allele frequency is zero, since increasing or decreasing in frequency is equally probable. A small percentage of alleles may continually change frequency in a single direction for several generations just as flipping a fair coin may, on occasion, result in a string of heads or tails. A very few new mutant alleles can drift to fixation in this manner. In small populations, the variance in the rate of change of allele frequencies is greater than in large populations. However, the overall rate of genetic drift (measured in substitutions per
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