Neutral Variation

∞ generated and posted on 2016.12.25 ∞

Polymorphisms that are a consequence of natural selection not being sufficiently strong relative to genetic drift to modify the frequency of specific alleles.

Neutral Variation means that multiple alleles are present at a given genetic locus because those alleles are not distinguishable by natural selection.

These are alleles, in other words, which neither greatly add to nor greatly detract from organism fitness, and it is the collection of such alleles found within a population that can be described as representing neutral variation. See by contrast detrimental allele as well as beneficial allele.

Alleles that have a neutral impact on organism fitness also tend to accumulate within populations precisely because they are not being purged by natural selection. See also neutral allele as well as neutral mutation.