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Figure 3-2. Schematic of genetic drift. Each line represents a separate "experiment" of an allele starting with a frequency of 0.10 followed over time in a population of size 100. In these computer-simulated data, frequency change is due to chance alone. Any frequency is achievable, but most new alleles quickly disappear while a few are lucky and rise to high frequency. In any population multiple alleles may be segregating, their relative frequencies drifting up or down over time, some being lost, new alleles generated from time to time by mutation. The fact that an allele has high frequency does not imply a history of adaptive natural selection having favored it. Usually, only statistical arguments can determine when that is most likely. Data simulated with Populus (Alstad 2003).

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Generations (t)

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