Best answer: Can natural selection cause harmful alleles in a population?

Natural selection leads to increases in the mean fitness of populations and so will reduce the frequency of disease-associated alleles, but other evolutionary processes, such as mutation and gene flow, may introduce or increase the frequency of these deleterious alleles.

How does natural selection affect the alleles of a population?

Natural selection occurs when individuals with certain genotypes are more likely than individuals with other genotypes to survive and reproduce, and thus to pass on their alleles to the next generation. … There is variation among individuals within a population in some trait.

Does natural selection eliminate harmful alleles in a population?

“Natural selection usually acts to minimize the frequency of harmful alleles in a population. However, the harmful alleles can never be totally eliminated, because mutation of wildtype alleles continually creates new harmful mutations.

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What does natural selection do to alleles?

Natural selection can cause microevolution (change in allele frequencies), with fitness-increasing alleles becoming more common in the population. Fitness is a measure of reproductive success (how many offspring an organism leaves in the next generation, relative to others in the group).

How can natural selection have a negative effect of a population?

If negative selection is too strong for the whole population, extinction will occur, unless the population is rescued in time. Extinction can occur if the negative selection considered is “hard” selection, which actually reduces the number of surviving offspring that are produced.

How does natural selection keep a harmful allele in the gene pool in the case of sickle cell anemia?

Heterozygotes (AS) with the sickle-cell allele are resistant to malaria. Therefore, they are more likely to survive and reproduce. This keeps the S allele in the gene pool.

Sickle Cell and Natural Selection.

Genotype Phenotype Fitness
AA 100% normal hemoglobin Somewhat reduced fitness because of no resistance to malaria

What happens to alleles that are under negative selection?

In natural selection, negative selection or purifying selection is the selective removal of alleles that are deleterious. This can result in stabilising selection through the purging of deleterious genetic polymorphisms that arise through random mutations.

Why would a harmful allele be maintained in a population?

Deleterious alleles may also be maintained because of linkage to beneficial alleles. The inability of natural selection to eliminate diseases of aging is a reminder that fitness — success in producing progeny, or in contributing genes to the population gene pool — is not equivalent to the absence of disease.

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Is it easier for selection to eliminate a rare harmful allele from the population if it is dominant or if it is recessive?

Selection against dominant alleles is more efficient than selection against recessive alleles. It takes fewer than 100 generations to eliminate a dominant deleterious allele with an initial frequency of 0.70 (Figure 22).

Why are harmful dominant alleles so rare?

Dominant lethal alleles are very rare because the allele only lasts one generation and is, therefore, not usually transmitted. In the case where dominant lethal alleles might not be expressed until adulthood, the allele may be unknowingly passed on, resulting in a delayed death in both generations.

Does natural selection make organisms more complex and perfect?

Organisms that are more adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and pass on the genes that aided their success. This process causes species to change and diverge over time. … Natural selection, however, states that even the most complex organisms occur by totally natural processes.

What does it mean when an allele is selected against?

When the dominant phenotype is selected against, any individual with even one dominant allele will have the undesirable trait, and so will have few or no offspring. In a relatively short time, only the aa individuals with the selected for recessive trait will be left. This is called purifying selection.

Why does natural selection not result in the creation of perfect organisms?

Natural selection cannot create novel, perfect species because it only selects on existing variations in a population.

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What are the disadvantages of natural selection?


  • involves a lot of chance.
  • environment of animal can become underemployed of resources in boom times, or over-employed in lean times.
  • less control over breeding of animals at specific times can lead to overpopulated or underpopulated areas of a species.

Is natural selection a negative process?

Natural selection can be of two types, based on its effect on the fate of genetic variations: purifying (negative) selection and positive (Darwinian) selection.

How does natural selection affect humans?

One example of recent natural selection in humans involves the ability to tolerate the sugar, lactose, in milk. In most parts of the world, adults are unable to drink milk because their body switches off the intestinal production of lactase, an enzyme that digests the sugar in the milk, after weaning.