Allopatric Speciation - Allopatric Speciation in Peripheral Populations

Allopatric Speciation in Peripheral Populations

When populations become genetically isolated, heritable variations may accumulate so that they become different from the parental population. Given sufficient time, these variations may lead to reproductive isolation.

Portions of a populations that exist along the edges of the parent population's geographic territory have higher likelihood of developing reproductive isolation. Such peripheral populations are likely to possess genes that are different from the parental population. After isolation, the founding population is less likely to represent the gene pool of the parent population. In addition, peripheral isolates are likely to represent a small number of individuals, meaning their gene pool is more susceptible to the effects of genetic drift (random chance). Furthermore, it is likely that the peripheral population will inhabit an environment different from its ancestral gene pool, likely causing it to be subjected to different selective pressures as it colonizes new areas. The outer periphery of a population's habitat tends to be extreme; hence, the reason range expansion is kept in check. For most peripheral isolates, it is more likely that they die off rather than survive and speciate.

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