Genetic Implications of the Gene Pool

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  • 0:00 A Game of Pool
  • 0:20 What is a Gene Pool?
  • 0:42 Genetic Implications
  • 3:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson explores the relationship between the gene pool, genetic diversity, as well as factors such as population size and inbreeding and their effect on the gene pool.

A Game of Pool

We're going to play a game of pool in this lesson. The rules here are going to be very different from your standard billiards table and game. The game of pool we're going to play has a name; it's called gene pool. Yep, I just made it up, and you're going to love it. I said, you're going to love it!

Let's play.

What Is a Gene Pool?

Gene pool is a term that refers to all of the genes found in all of the individuals of a given population or species. Sometimes, this definition is limited only to individuals capable of reproduction since they're the only ones capable of passing on their genes.

So, let's play our game to figure out the genetic implications of the gene pool.

Genetic Implications

On the table in front of you are 16 balls of various different colors (see video). Each ball represents an individual member of a species carrying a certain gene.

Some of the balls are yellow, some are green, one is black, and one is white. Some of these balls have a solid color to them, and the others are striped. All of them, minus the white one, have a number assigned to them. Each ball, owing to its color, color pattern, and number, represents genetic diversity within the population. The more colors we have the more numbers we have, and the more varied the patterns the higher the genetic diversity.

Genetic diversity is good! If all of the sudden I told you to shoot each solid-colored ball into a pocket whilst ignoring the striped balls, and you shot each solid ball into the pocket, the striped balls would remain on the pool table. If all of the sudden a great plague were to come in, one that only targeted members of a species that expressed a certain gene, then those members of the species would be wiped out but the others would not be. This would save the species from extinction.

However, if our pool table was filled solely with solid balls, implying a lower genetic diversity, then you would shoot all of the balls into the pocket, and there would be nothing left on the table. If a species had little genetic diversity, then all of its members could be wiped out by the same problem.

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