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Biological Importance of Variation Essay

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Below is an essay on "Biological Importance of Variation" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Variation between living organisms is almost certainly one of the most important features of all life on planet earth as a whole. Without both interspecific and intraspecific variation, Life as we know it would not exist.

Variation between members of the same species, known as intraspecific variation, is one of the driving forces behind evolution through natural selection. Minute variations in organisms, brought about through mutations in their DNA can cause certain members of a community to be better adapted to their environment than others, making them more likely to breed successfully and pass on their superior genes. Alternatively, differences in DNA may provide immunity to a disease which affects most members of a species. Although, if widespread disease can wipe out large amounts of a species, it will create a genetic bottleneck, where the size of a species gene pool is dramatically reduced and only the individuals with the mutated genes survive. This leads to a founder effect, where there is very little diversity in the species. A good example of this can be seen in the cheetah population. They suffer from many genetic problems caused by inbreeding, after hunting severely reduced their population.

Variation between members of the same species can also be brought about through environmental factors. If a group of one species is separated into two groups, living in two distinctly different environments, they will adapt differently over time, even in one generation. Over many generations, these different adaptations will manifest themselves genetically, and the gene pools of the two separate populations will become very different. If the members of the same species become so different, that when brought back together, they can no longer breed, then they must now be classified as different species. This is one of the fundamental principles behind evolution by natural selection. New species arise through old ones adapting to their environment. The...

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