Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hurtful, harmful, injurious; describes mutations in wild species that lower the fitness of their carriers, or in domesticated species that impair the traits considered desirable by the breeder. In humans, deleterious traits are often thought of as negative and subject to removal; in some cultures this takes the form of repair, but in others, that of removal due either to active intervention or to benign neglect.

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