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Genetic drift

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Genetic drift is a mechanism of evolution. It refers to random fluctuations in the frequencies of alleles from generation to generation due to chance events. Genetic drift can cause traits to be dominant or disappear from a population. The effects of genetic drift are most pronounced in small populations.

The term founder effect is also used. Many people regard the two terms as synonymous.

Further reading

  • Coop G. Figures of genetic drift. The Coop Lab blog, 11 February 2013.
  • Pomery C. Divided by the Pond: why genetic drift means US results can't pinpoint the origin of a British surname. Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, Plus Edition, 23 September 2009. Available as a reprint in the May 2010 issue of the Phillips DNA Project's newsletter (pp6-9).

Scientific papers

See also

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This article uses material in the public domain from the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms and is reproduced courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute.