Biology » Evolution of Populations » Population Genetics

Gene Flow

Gene Flow

Another important evolutionary force is gene flow: the flow of alleles in and out of a population due to the migration of individuals or gametes (see the figure below). While some populations are fairly stable, others experience more flux. Many plants, for example, send their pollen far and wide, by wind or by bird, to pollinate other populations of the same species some distance away.

Even a population that may initially appear to be stable, such as a pride of lions, can experience its fair share of immigration and emigration as developing males leave their mothers to seek out a new pride with genetically unrelated females. This variable flow of individuals in and out of the group not only changes the gene structure of the population, but it can also introduce new genetic variation to populations in different geological locations and habitats.

This illustration shows an individual from a population of brown insects traveling toward a population of green insects.

Gene flow can occur when an individual travels from one geographic location to another.

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