Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Neutral Drift Theory

In molecular evolution, a body of propositions by Kimura and others which argued that the genetic load on populations is too great, and that the degree of polymorphism maintained would be too small, to be explained by natural selection acting alone. Neutral mutations, Kimura argued, would be invisible to selection as they would possess selection coefficients of 0 (or nearly so), and therefore explain the observed high degree of transient polymorphism without imposing impossibly high genetic loads, as they drift toward fixation or los.

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