Evolutionary Mechanisms - 1 The Gene Pool and Genetic Equilibrium As we stated at the beginning of our discussion on evolutionary principles, evolution involves changes that occur in the frequency of a gene's alleles in a population from generation to generation. Each individual member of a population inherits a set of genes, and for most of these genes, two alleles. He or she cannot evolve or change the alleles inherited. But the contribution he or she makes to the population's gene pool through reproduction, relative to the contribution other members of the population make, can change the population's genetic composition from generation to generation. The collection of genes (alleles) in a population is called the gene pool. For a population's gene pool to change, there must be some mechanism that promotes differential reproduction or differential survival of one allele that is reflected in reproduction. When such change occurs, we have evolution. A review of the inheritance of a single gene illustrates this. In a population of cats,
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