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A very small population of a species faces a great threat of extinction. Provide a suitable genetic explanation.

Last updated date: 13th Jun 2024
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Hint: From Darwinian evolutionary theory there is a term known as “Survival of the fittest” that explains the mechanism of natural selection. Reproductive success is characterized as the biological concept of fitness. The expression is best interpreted in Darwinian terms as “Survival of the form that will leave most copies of itself in successive generations.

Complete answer:
Genetic variation has been described as an important factor impacting the long-term survival ability of a population. In various facets of population persistence, the importance of genetic variation has been recognized and is important for long-term fitness and adaptation. With decreased sperm production, reduced litter size, increased juvenile mortality, and increased vulnerability to disease and parasites, loss of genetic diversity has been shown to affect individual fitness.
Smaller populations face a greater risk of extinction than larger populations. There are more random fluctuations in the smaller population, which can result in higher mortality rates than birth rates and eventually contribute to their extinction. Also, there is more inbreeding between the individuals of a population in smaller populations, which leads to a reduction in the capacity of the population by encouraging the expression of harmful mutations to heterozygosity. The amount of accumulated variation in smaller populations is less than that of larger populations.

Variation aids in organism survival under changed environmental circumstances. Variations within species allow them to adapt to and give them a chance of surviving in that unique climate. For example, thermophilic bacteria are variants that are immune to extreme temperatures. While other species will die in high-temperate environments, they have a chance of survival.