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Directional selection

 In population genetics, directional selection occurs when natural selection favors a single phenotype and therefore allele frequency continuously shifts in one direction. Under directional selection, the advantageous allele will increase in frequency independently of its dominance relative to other alleles (i.e. even if the advantageous allele is recessive, it will eventually become fixed). Directional selection stands in contrast to balancing selection where selection may favor multiple alleles, and is the same as purifying selection which removes deleterious mutations from a population, in other words it is directional selection in favor of the advantageous heterozygote. Directional selection is a particular mode or mechanism of natural selection.


  • A classic example is the evolution of the peppered moth, where the favored trait of moth color (light or dark) noticeably shifted to a darker shade in relation to the effects of human industrialization.

See also


  • P. C. Sabeti, et al. Science 312, 1614 (2006) Positive Natural Selection in the Human Lineage (Review)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Directional_selection". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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