Directional Selection: How Evolutionary Pressures Impact Population Traits

Directional selection

Form of natural selection in which the entire curve moves; occurs when individuals at one end of a distribution curve have higher fitness than individuals in the middle or at the other end of the curve

Directional selection is a type of natural selection that occurs when a certain trait becomes more or less advantageous to an organism’s survival and reproduction in its environment. This results in a gradual increase or decrease in the frequency of the trait in a population over time.

For example, imagine a population of birds with different beak sizes. If the available seeds in their environment become larger, birds with larger beaks will have an advantage in obtaining food and will be more likely to survive and reproduce. Therefore, over time, the frequency of larger beaks in the bird population will increase, as those birds are more likely to pass on their advantageous traits to their offspring.

Directional selection can lead to rapid changes in a population’s traits, particularly if the environmental pressures that are driving the selection are strong. However, it can also lead to the loss of genetic diversity if only one trait is continually selected for.

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