Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
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.
Genetic drift. I think the best way to look at it is to look at genetic drift as an evolutionary process. It is really the shuffling of our DNA frequency from one generation to the other. And as a result of this chance event, you know, you can emphasize it in things, you know, in the population. So it is in things. Something that may cause a particular type of gene to be more dominant or a particular type disease to disappear from a population. So again, it is a chance event, and it is an evolutionary process.
Name: Charles N. Rotimi, Ph.D.
Occupation: Director, Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health; Senior Investigator, Inherited Disease Research Branch
Biography: Dr. Rotimi is the director of the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health (CRGGH), whose mission is to advance research into the role of culture, lifestyle, genetics and genomics in health disparities. Dr. Rotimi develops genetic epidemiology models and conducts population genetics research that explores the patterns and determinants of common complex diseases in the African diaspora and other human populations. A key focus of Dr. Rotimi's research is understanding the triangular relationship between obesity, hypertension and diabetes, which together account for more than 80% of the health disparities between African Americans and European Americans.