To be genetically viable, i.e having a realistic chance of avoiding the problems of inbreeding, a population of plants or animals requires a certain amount of genetic diversity, and consequently a certain minimum number of members. See effective population size. The minimum is normally somewhere in the region of a hundred unrelated individuals. Where a population has become extremely small in a population bottleneck, due for example to near-extinction of the species, it may have lost its genetic viability, and if numbers recover it will be through inbreeding, possibly leaving an unhealthy population.
- Zhang, B.; Li, M.; Zhang, Z.; Goossens, B.; Zhu, L.; Zhang, S.; Hu, J.; Bruford, M. W.; Wei, F. (2007). "Genetic viability and population history of the giant panda, putting an end to the "evolutionary dead end"?". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 24 (8): 1801–10. doi:10.1093/molbev/msm099. PMID 17513881.
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