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The sporadic
nature of genetic mutations, known as genetic drift, are a key component in
evolutionary research. Mutations that are fatally consequential to their carrier
are removed from the species straight away. The majority of genetic mutations have
neither a favourable nor detrimental effect on the ability to reproduce or the survival
of the individual. Sometimes, however, mutations may occur that improve the
survival or ability to reproduce of that of the carrier (Futuyma, 2005). By
natural selection, these mutations will become more common within a species,
thus being characteristic of said species.

 

A notable
observation of Darwin’s was that of Finch from the Galapagos Archipelago, where
he studied the shape of the beak among the varying species across the
Archipelago, suggesting that the finches had changed to allow for them to
attain from diverse food sources Rye et al, 2016). Characteristic variation
such as size and shape of beaks are due to both genetic and environmental
influences (Grant & Grant, 1989). 

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