MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: How many generations of inbreathing can a few-inhabitant 'tribe' cope whith

Date: Tue Apr 17 07:35:34 2001
Posted By: Steve Marvell, Independent Researcher
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 987265271.Ge

As far as I can tell, the "problem" with inbreeding is not that is causes
bad genes to appear, but it keeps them in the gene pool. This is also true
of good genes, but then bad genes are more likely to occur through natural

Let's take the example of a small tribe. Without extensive medical
facilities, dominant gene mutations which cause severe medical conditions
will cause death before reproduction. From an evolutionary perspective,
this does not have an adverse effect on the gene pool. However, a recessive
mutation will not be wiped out so easily. A recessive gene can hang around
in the gene pool for a long time before being expressed as a disease. All of a 
sudden, the entire tribe becomes homozygous for a gene which causes a problem.

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