Commentary - Journal of Evolutionary Medicine ( 2022) Volume 10, Issue 10

Genetic Drift in times of Evolutionary Analysis

Erlin Zhang*
Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, USA
*Corresponding Author:
Erlin Zhang, Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, USA, Email:

Received: 03-Oct-2022, Manuscript No. JEM-22-81124; Editor assigned: 05-Oct-2022, Pre QC No. JEM-22-81124 (PQ); Reviewed: 19-Oct-2022, QC No. JEM-22-81124; Revised: 24-Oct-2022, Manuscript No. JEM-22-81124 (R); Published: 31-Oct-2022, DOI: 10.4303/JEM/236090


A small population is more susceptible to the effects of chance occurrences than a big one. For instance, among all the copies of a gene in the population, only one copy of a novel mutation in a small population represents its frequency. When the population is small, random environmental impacts or other chance occurrences that are independent of the genotype i.e., events that take place for reasons unrelated to whether a person has the mutant allele can significantly alter the frequency of the disease allele. These unplanned events interfere with Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and alter the allele frequency from one generation to the next. Allele frequency changes due to chance can be explained by the phenomena of genetic drift. Although the new group’s population size will stay modest for the next few generations, there may be significant fluctuations in gene frequency until allele frequencies reach a new equilibrium as the population grows. The process of genetic drift is merely chance acting on a small population, as opposed to gene flow, in which allele frequencies fluctuate as a result of the mixing of previously separate populations. Sewall Wright’s shifting-balance theory of evolution, which places genetic drift at the centre of a two-phase process of population adaptation, places genetic drift at its core. Each subdivision experiences a random walk in allele frequencies during the initial phase of genetic drift to discover novel gene combinations. A new advantageous allele combination is fixed in the subpopulation by natural selection in the second phase, and it is exported to other demes by processes like population movement. Understanding the shifting-balance theory of evolution had a large role in the development of the fundamental theory of genetic drift. The population geneticist’s neutral theory of molecular evolution likewise fundamentally relies on genetic drift. According to this idea, a balance between mutation and genetic drift accounts for the majority of the genetic diversity in DNA and protein sequences. In DNA and proteins, mutation slowly introduces new allelic variety, while genetic drift gradually removes this diversity, bringing the system to a stable state. The constant and equal substitution rate in genes is a core prediction of the genetic drift hypothesis.

Rarely occurring alleles are more likely to be lost in small populations, where genetic drift typically occurs. Genetic drift will persist once it starts until the relevant allele is either lost by a population or until it is the only allele present in a population at a certain locus. Both scenarios reduce a population’s genetic diversity. Following population bottlenecks, which are situations in which a population’s size is significantly reduced, genetic drift is frequently seen. In these circumstances, genetic drift may cause the loss of uncommon alleles and a reduction in the gene pool. The possibility that genetic drift contributes to the evolution of new species is supported by the fact that genetic drift can result in a new population being genetically different from its ancestral population.

We must take into account how the interplay between natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow affects evolutionary trajectories in wild populations since these mechanisms do not operate in isolation. For conservation geneticists, who establish reserves and predict the population dynamics of imperilled species in fragmented habitats, this topic is of utmost importance. They wrestle with the ramifications of these evolutionary processes in their endeavours. Since all genuine populations are limited, genetic drift has an impact on them all. In an infinite population, we anticipate that directional selection will ultimately fix a beneficial allele, but in a finite population, drift may eventually outweigh the benefits of selection if the population is small or selection is weak. In tiny, vulnerable populations, where fixation of harmful alleles can lower population viability and increase the risk of extinction, genetic variety loss owing to drift is of particular concern. Low heterozygosity is likely to remain even if conservation efforts increase population growth because bottlenecks (periods of decreased population size) have a more significant impact on Ne than do periods of increased population size.

The way most people think about evolution emphasises changes brought on by natural selection. Natural selection is the sole mechanism that results in animals adapting to their surroundings, making it unquestionably a crucial mechanism of allele-frequency change. However, other processes can also alter allele frequencies, frequently in ways that counteract the effects of selection. It is essential for a detailed knowledge of evolution that we take into account processes like genetic drift and gene flow as well as the fallacy of presuming that natural selection would always move populations in the direction of their most well-adapted state. Genetic drift is founded on the idea that a small, isolated population that is part of a larger population (i.e., a big sample set) is not always representative of the larger set. As may be predicted, the likelihood of sampling error (or misrepresenting the broader population) increases with population size, leading to considerable amounts of drift in any one generation. When one allele in an allele pair completely disappears due to drift across generations, the remaining allele is referred to as fixed.


Authors do not have acknowledgments currently.

Conflict Of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Copyright: � 2022 Zhang E. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.