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Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior - Lecture 4

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Lecture 4 - Neutral Evolution: Genetic Drift

Neutral evolution occurs when genes do not experience natural selection because they have no effect on reproductive success. Neutrality arises when mutations in an organism's genotype cause no change in its phenotype, or when changes in the genotype bring about changes in the phenotype that do not affect reproductive success. Because neutral genes do not change in any particular direction over time and simply "drift," thanks in part to the randomness of meiosis, they can be used as a sort of molecular clock to determine common ancestors or places in the phylogenetic tree of life.

Prof. Stephen C. Stearns
EEB 122: Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior, Spring 2009
(Yale University: Open Yale)
http://oyc.yale.edu
Date accessed: 2009-11-18
License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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