Living things are known to have varying characteristics, even when they belong to the same species. Climatic conditions are not the same in every part of the world. Therefore, animals and plants are known to exhibit different characteristics in different regions. On the same note, adaptations to different requirements for survival have been known to bring about different physical characteristics in organisms. In this regard, it is not unique to see animals or plants of the same species having completely different physical characteristics, yet they are in the same locality. It should however be noted that genetic diversity is enhanced by several factors, mutation migration and sexual reproduction being among them.
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Genetic diversity is a term that is used to refer to the difference in characteristics that occurs among members of the same species. Usually, members of the same species do not always have the same genetic makeup due to uncontrollable factors and will therefore exhibit some differences. Majorly, this occurs due to the fact that living things have to adapt to their external environment in order to survive. Arguably, those living things that are best adapted to the environment increase their chances of survival. It is paramount to note that genetic diversity is dynamic and changes over time and region.
Among the factors that influence genetic diversity is mutation. Mutation refers to the spontaneous but continuous and permanent changes in DNA replication. These changes can cause alteration in protein sequence, thus making organisms have some observable differences. It should however be noted that though mutation has negative effects on organisms, there are some positive effects associated with it. Mutation can either happen naturally or due to influence from external factors like radiation. All in all, mutation serves to increase the difference in genetic characteristics of members of the same species.
On the same note, sexual reproduction has been cited as a factor influencing genetic diversity. Sexual reproduction is the process by which organisms reproduce through a combination of gametes from the male and female members of a species. Usually, there occurs gene transfer both from the male and from the female organism to the offspring. Therefore, this process produces offspring with slightly different characteristics from its parents. As the process continues, the genetic variation also increases.
Migration is another factor that contributes to genetic diversity. When organisms migrate from one ecological niche to the other, they mix with other organisms with different genetic compositions. As a result, the flow of genes takes place causing genetic variation, thus enhancing genetic diversity. Similarly, the population can determine the degree of adaptation required and hence the genetic diversity. A small population will exhibit lesser genetic diversity because of reduced competition. However, as the population increases the struggle for survival increases. Consequently, various organisms devise different ways of adaptation leading to genetic changes. As a result, genetic diversity is propelled because each organism fights to be the best.
Moreover, nature plays a very important role in influencing genetic diversity. Due to limited resource supply, living things usually compete of survival. As a result, each organism tries to increases its chances for survival. Unfortunately, nature has no leniency and it is all about survival for the fittest. Consequently, nature selects the fittest to continue surviving or living longer than the others. Not only does this lead to increased genetic diversity, but also makes genetic diversity dynamic with time.