Genetic diversity is influenced by a multitude of factors and therefore varies considerably between populations. In this section we shall look at some of the most important determinants of genetic diversity, including genetic drift, population bottlenecks, natural selection and methods of reproduction. While reading about these, it is important to keep in mind that no process acts in isolation, for example the rate at which a population recovers from a bottleneck will depend in part on its reproductive ecology. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict the extent to which a particular factor will influence genetic diversity because no two populations are the same. Nevertheless, several factors have a universal relevance to genetic diversity, and these will comprise the remainder of this chapter.
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