Oncology & Cancer

Genetic diversity facilitates cancer therapy

The constant battle against infectious pathogens has had a decisive influence on the human immune system over the course of our evolution. A key role in our adaptation to pathogens is played by HLA molecules. These proteins ...

Genetics

PopPUNK advances speed of bacterial pathogen surveillance

Differences in genetic diversity among bacterial pathogens correlate with clinically important factors, such as virulence and antimicrobial resistance, prompting the need to identify clusters of similar bacterial strains. ...

Genetics

Genetic determinants of telomere length in African American youth

Telomeres are DNA-protein structures that play a vital role in maintaining DNA stability and integrity. Telomere length (TL) is an important biomarker of aging and overall health, but TL has been mostly studied in adult populations ...

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Genetic diversity

Genetic diversity is a level of biodiversity that refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary.

The academic field of population genetics includes several hypotheses and theories regarding genetic diversity. The neutral theory of evolution proposes that diversity is the result of the accumulation of neutral substitutions. Diversifying selection is the hypothesis that two subpopulations of a species live in different environments that select for different alleles at a particular locus. This may occur, for instance, if a species has a large range relative to the mobility of individuals within it. Frequency-dependent selection is the hypothesis that as alleles become more common, they become less fit. This is often invoked in host-pathogen interactions, where a high frequency of a defensive allele among the host means that it is more likely that a pathogen will spread if it is able to overcome that allele.

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