Genetic Variation vs Genetic Diversity
Genetic variation and genetic diversity are terms that are very close to each other with some slight differences exhibited between those. Genetic variation lays the foundation for organisms to have genetic diversity, which contributes eventually for biodiversity through species diversity. Variety and variability collectively contribute for the diversity; hence, the existence of variations and diversity in genetic materials definitely helps the species to thrive through increased adaptability for the changing environmental conditions.
What is Genetic Variation?
Genetic variation is simply the variation in alleles of genes in the gene pool of a species or a population. It could be described as a process or a set of processes that could take place either within or among populations. Genetic variations provide raw materials for the natural selection. Mutations and sexual reproduction are the main causes for genetic variation. When an allele is changed due to a mutation, the next generation will have a varied gene in their population. Alteration of an allele could take place due to a mutation either in a gene or in chromosome.
Genetic variation could also occur because of the sexual reproduction through mate selection and possibility of recombination. Due to the variations among individuals in a population, preference is built up in selecting mating partners, when the meiosis step being taken place during gamete production. Therefore, there would be a good possibility for the alleles to change in the next population. Although the altered alleles are not always expressed due to recessive and dominant allele phenomena, the variation taken place will have an impact in the future. These variations would be important to adapt the demands of the changing environmental conditions or be helpful to survive the natural selection.
What is Genetic Diversity?
Genetic diversity could be defined as the variations within and among species in the form of the genetic makeup. There are two important points to comprehend about the term; one is that it relates with genetic material, and the other is that it could be related with either one species or more than that. Genetic diversity is considered the baseline level of biodiversity.
Diversity is a combination of both variety and variability; the genetic diversity serves all the species to be adaptable for the challenging environmental demands. The potential for a particular species to change is highly valuable over the differing demands of the environment; indeed, the environment has always been changing over time. The dinosaurs could not stand up to the demands after the meteorite has struck the Earth, and went extinct. If there were enough genetic diversity and time to adapt to the conditions as the mammals did, dinosaurs would still be on this planet. Lack of genetic diversity has been a big problem for cheetahs to exist a long time; they, in fact, are genetically bottlenecked. The presence of a high genetic diversity means it is a versatile population.
What is the difference between Genetic Variation and Genetic Diversity?
• Genetic variation deals with individuals of a particular species, whereas genetic diversity could be related to either one or more species.
• Genetic variation mainly takes place due to sexual reproduction and mutations, while genetic diversity becomes important for the demands of nature.
• Genetic variation provides the row materials for natural selection while genetic diversity is the baseline of biodiversity.
• Genetic diversity can be measured by counting the number of different genes in a gene pool, but genetic variation can only be expected to occur and cannot be measured.