Jan 12, 2018 in Research

Genetically Vigorous Populations

Genetic diversity is the overall number of genetic characteristics present in different animal and plant species. Notably, genetic diversity facilitates the adaptability of different animal and plant species to the changing environmental conditions in their ecosystems. Populations that possess a variation of alleles suitable to a particular environment would survive and produce more offspring hence ensuring that the population continues over generations. Species with lesser characteristics would find it difficult to survive in the changing environments and may face high levels of extinction.

This essay explicates various matters of biological diversity as they relate to both animal and plant populations.

Importance of Genetic Diversity

Young & Clarke (2000) opine that genetic diversity is important because in cases where a particular population of organisms possesses a large pool of genes the group would have an enormous chance of surviving compared to those populations with lesser collections of genes. It is worth noting that presence of many genes among organisms ensures that they are stronger and are able to survive in the ever-changing environmental conditions. This is facilitated through easier adaptability using the diverse genes available. Consequently, populations with lesser collections of genes find it difficult to survive in the changing conditions because of the lack of adequate genes for adaptability.

More so, genetic diversity is vital because it ensures that there are reduced incidences of inheriting unfavorable characteristics among different populations. Genetic diversity ensures that most organisms in a particular population do not inherit weaker genes that would lead to sufferings such as diseases. In line with genetic variations, parents are not likely to pass some of their unfavorable genes to their offspring hence ensuring that they bring forth stronger generations that are likely to survive the changing conditions in the environment.

How Genetic Diversity Supports Long-term Viability, Biodiversity and Biotic Integrity

Genetic diversity plays significant role in supporting the long-term viability, biodiversity and biotic integrity in both plant and animal populations. As noted, genetic diversity is the total number of genetic characteristics available in different plant and animal species. This implies that genetic diversity ensures that both plant and animal populations possess a large number of genes that ensure effective adaptability to the changing environments in their ecosystems. Müller (2010) reiterates that with diverse genes they are able to survive for longer generations hence emphasizing significance of genetic diversity in supporting the long-term viability in plant and animal species. These animals and plants remain relevant for longer times because of their ability to adapt. Again, diversity facilitates biodiversity as these animals and plants adopt newer and more effective genes. They are able to remain healthy throughout their survival hence reiterating significance of genetic variation in promoting biotic integrity among plant and animal populations.

Examples of Plants and Animals Facing Challenges in Genetic Diversity

The baobab tree is one specific example of a plant facing challenges in genetic diversity. It is noted that the tree is endangered because of the declining adaptability to the changing climatic conditions because of the diversity challenges.

The Asian elephant is one specific type of animal facing challenges in genetic diversity. The Asian elephant is an endangered species as it faces significant challenges in trying to adapt to the changing environmental conditions because of the diversity challenges.

Threats to Viability Posed by Deficient Genetic Diversity

One of the key threats to the viability posed by deficient genetic diversity is the ease of attack by diseases and parasites. Engels (2002) confirms that diseases find it easier to enter the systems of animals and plants with fewer genes due to the reduced resistance hence threatening their viability. More so, parasites would live in the systems of animals and plants easily as there are no diverse genes to fight them and ensure they are kept out. This would threaten the viability of these plant and animal populations.

Another threat is inbreeding depression. Inbreeding refers to the relationship of populations in the enclosed areas. Inbreeding can lead to the expression of unfavorable genes among the offspring and this threatens the viability of plant and animal populations. The inbreeding depression implies that recessive genes are continually passed on to the offspring hence threatening viability.

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