Genetic drift is a phenomenon, which occurs in all the populations, but strongly affecting small populations. It results in the reduction of allelic frequency of some alleles and the allelic frequency fixation of other alleles.
Due to genetic drift, the bottleneck effect is seen when population size is greatly reduced due to natural disasters such as droughts, forest fires, and earthquakes, yielding survivor alleles from the mouth of the bottle and leaving killed allelic population in the bottle itself.
Mechanism of Genetic drift
The concept of genetic drift can be illustrated by an example. In a small population of mice, there are 500 brown mice (BB or Bb) and 200 white mice (bb). In the first generation, allelic (B, b) frequencies are equal (p=0.6 and q=0.6). In this generation, 6 mice reproduce. In the second generation, due to the genetic drift, there is a reduction in the allelic frequency of the recessive gene and an increase in the dominant gene, like p=0.8 and q=0.4. In this generation, only 2 mice reproduce. The other mice died due to their unadaptability to the environmental conditions or due to enemie’s attacks due to the visibility of their skin color. In the third generation, recessive allele (b) is lost from the population due to mutations (by chance) and dominant allele (B) is fixed and is under the continuous pressure of genetic drift for many generations.
Effect of genetic drift on population size
The allelic frequencies of the gene pool of a large population are unaffected by the genetic drift as compared to the small populations where the allelic frequencies of some genes are decreased and the others are increased and fixed. Sometimes the harmful alleles are fixed and the beneficial ones are diminished by chance (mutations). For example, in a large population of 100000 mice, it is less likely that the recessive allele (b) is lost and the dominant allele (B) is fixed. If the population size is small that is if only half of the mice (50000) are survived and reproduced, then the allelic frequencies change is expressed and more accurate.
The bottleneck effect:
The Bottleneck effect is a perfect explanation of genetic drift, which can only be seen at the time of natural environmental calamities such as floods, earthquakes when the population size is greatly diminished.
This effect is so-called a bottleneck because the number of individuals present in the bottle is the original population and the individuals which can easily come out of the neck of the bottle are the survivor population and the individuals which are left in the bottle themselves are killed individual population. This effect yields a less and an assorted number of individuals that are under the pressure of genetic drift for several generations until their number is reached to the normal, causing loss of more number of alleles.
The allelic frequency of the survivor population is entirely different from the original population. In this effect, some alleles whether beneficial or harmful are lost by chance due to mutations, as this effect is not dependent on whether the alleles are beneficial or harmful, it only depends on the population size (small size). The gene pool of the survivor allele population is the genetic representation of the whole population.
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