Can a trait be too successful? Wouldn't an overwhelmingly successful trait soon limit the gene pool, and if so, how would the process of natural selection react to that? If an individual is born with a trait that allows it to reproduce unimpeded, and it passes that trait on to its offspring, wouldn't the variability be quickly reduced in the population? And if so, then would NS limit the trait so that it isn't overwhelming?
And thanks to everyone who contributed here, you have been very helpful and I am very grateful.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please clarify and research your question. In particular, why do you think that a "overwhelmingly successful trait" would limit the "gene pool"? ——— Please also take the tour and then go through the help center pages starting with How to Ask questions effectively on this site and delete or edit your question accordingly. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 14 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ I have found that when learning about a new area starting with a relatively accessible and reliable source like Khan Academy is very helpful. Wikipedia is also generally a good starting point and you can then check their references. Online platforms called MOOCs offer free (or very low cost) courses on a wide variety of subjects — two I am familiar with are Coursera and edX. Finally, textbooks with a good level of detail are also freely available online e.g. from NCBI. $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 14 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ Finally, I encourage you to check out some of the online resources available for learning more about evolution. For example, this a useful introduction to evolutionary theory from UC Berkeley. This will give you a better understanding of evolution and perhaps allow you to frame your question more clearly. $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 14 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ This information is very helpful and I am looking forward to using these resources to find the answer to my question. $\endgroup$ – BentonB Mar 14 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ I think you could expand the question to be more clear. See if I understood correctly: Suppose there is a given individual A in a population with a very adaptive trait T. Presumably this individual would generate more descendants, and its descendants would also reproduce at a higher rate, so that in the long run a significant fraction of the population would acquire trait T. But this seems to imply that a significant fraction of the population would descend from A and therefore a lower genetic variation.. Is this your question? If so I suggest looking for genetic drift and related things $\endgroup$ – cesaruliana Mar 14 at 17:48

Yes, in neutral theory of evolution this is called fixation - when all the alleles (for a given locus) become identical. Note that it may happen, even if the gene does not have a striong selective advantage - due to the random effects.

If you are looking for the basic background in population genetics, Gellespie's book is a good starting point.


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