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Genetic Drift

Genetic Drift

Genetic drift is a mechanism of evolution. It refers to random fluctuations in the frequencies of alleles from generation to generation due to chance events. Genetic drift can cause traits to be dominant or disappear from a population. The effects of genetic drift are most pronounced in small populations.

Learn more from scientific experts about Evolution /Genetic Drift at NHGRI's Talking Glossary

Materials for Genetic Drift


Simulation of Genetic Drift

Description: An animation of genetic drift


Genetic Drift and the Founder Effect

Description: Life examples that demonstrate genetic drift and the founder effect


How Does Evolution Work? The Mating Game

Description: Interactive game teaching genetic drift and natural selection

Predator and Prey

Description: A game teaching how selection pressure can lead to a change in the characteristics of a population

Interactive Tutorials

Quirkies Evolution App

Description: This game teaches how evolution works: quirkies evolve through natural selection, reproduction, recombination and mutation of genes.

Teacher Resources

Beanbag Population Genetics (PDF 46.88 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Classroom exercises demonstrating genetic drift and natural selection