In biology, a deme is a term for a local population of organisms of one species that actively interbreed with one another and share a distinct gene pool. When demes are isolated for a very long time they can become distinct subspecies or species. The term deme is mainly used in evolutionary biology and is often used as a synonym for population.
A deme in biological evolution is conceptually related to a meme in cultural evolution.
Various populations of gorillas can be understood by their geographical separation and have been assessed to determine distinct and disjointed gene pools. The polar bear, Ursus maritimus, is understood to have 19 identifiable demes, even though their circumpolar distribution allows some interchange among the demes.
- C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus, Globaltwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Stromberg
- Andrea Beth Taylor and Michele Lynn Goldsmith (2003) Gorilla Biology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, Cambridge University Press, 508 pages ISBN 0-521-79281-9, ISBN 978-0-521-79281-3
- Andrea Beth Taylor and Michele Lynn Goldsmith, 2003
- C. Michael Hogan, 2008
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