Li, Ching Chun Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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- Mendelian populations
- Mutation pressure
- Migration and intermixture
- Mating systems
- Genotype selective values
- Natural selection
- Selection pressure and equilibrium
- Stability of an equilibrium
- Gamete selection
- Random drift
- Two-locus selection
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of both experimental and theoretical consequences of Mendelian heredity on the population level. Population genetics is the study of genetic variation within populations and is concerned with the kinds of alternate gene forms (alleles) within a population. In general, the field of population genetics stands in contradistinction to classical genetics (which deals with the offspring of specified parents on the familial level). Population genetics investigates the frequencies of genes, genotypes, and phenotypes, as well as the type of mating systems. It also studies the forces that may alter the genetic composition of a population in time (such as recurrent mutation, migration, and intermixture between groups), selection resulting from genotypic differential fertility, and the random changes incurred by the sampling process in reproduction from generation to generation (Fig. 1). The study of population genetics contributes to an understanding of the elementary step in biological evolution. See also: Allele; Biometrics; Evolution; Gene; Genetics; Human genetics; Mendelism
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