Biology as Poetry: Evolutionary Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Assortative Mating

Biases in mate choice such that individuals which resemble one another are more likely to mate among themselves versus individuals who are less similar.

Assortative mating is an example of nonrandom mating since every possible mating in this case is not equally likely. Genetically, assortative mating has the effect of increasing inbreeding within populations and decreasing the prevalence of heterozygotes versus as predicted for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.

Assortative mating in and of itself will not have an impact on allele frequency within a population. By increasing the number of homozygotes present within populations, however, it can increase the opportunity for natural selection against recessive deleterious alleles.

Alternatively, assortative mating certainly will have a direct impact on the genotype frequencies within a population, i.e., as deviated away from those predicted by the Hardy-Weinberg theorem.

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