Edited by James F. Crow and William F. Dove Museum o Comparative Zoology, Haruard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 f HEN I entered TH. DOBZHANSKYâS laboratory as a graduatestudent in 195 1, the problematic of population genetics was the description and explanation of genetic variation within and between populations. That remains its problematic 40 years later in 199 1. What has changed is our ability to characterize variation at thegenic and nucleotide level and, linked to the ability to give detailed descriptions of variation, the development of a theory of population genetics that takes into account the full implication of historical ancestries in real populations. In the 1950s and before, observations of genetic variation were confined to two sorts of data. On the one hand, some morphological variation was a consequence of the segregation of alleles at single loci in classical Mendelian fashion and these couldbe studied either by direct observation of phenotypes in nature or, if there was complete dominance of one allele, by test crosses in species that could be bred. The blood group and hemoglobinpolymorphismsin humans (BOYD 1950; ALLISON1955), shell markings in snails (LAMOTTE 1951; CAINand SHEPPARD 1954), wing patterns in Lepidoptera (FORD 1953), and rare
Genetics – Genetics Society of America
Published: Aug 1, 1991
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