Minimum species population to ensure adequate genetic diversity?
February 16, 2010 8:44 AM Subscribe
If a species is nearing extinction, what is the minimum population needed to give it a reasonable chance of survival, in terms of genetic diversity?
posted by adamrice to science & nature (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Assume for the sake of argument that whatever threat or change in the environment that has already reduced the species' population is reversed, so that the species has a chance to re-propagate itself. Also assume we're talking about a complex animal, not a paramecium.
I'm guessing that below some threshold, negative traits like hemophilia would tend to get amplified in succeeding generations, and hurt the chances of the species as a whole from flourishing. Obviously population isn't strictly equivalent to genetic diversity—if all remaining members of a population are members of the same family, the genetic diversity is lower. I also realize this probably isn't a precise number.