Posts Tagged ‘founder effect’


About half of all Tristanians have asthma.

It has a genetic basis, as you’ll see in the film.

What happened here is a good example of the founder effect. A high proportion of the original settlers had asthma, and because the settlers have intermarried, a very high percentage of the population have asthma.

This is actually not that different from what we’ve done with domestic dogs.

But instead of putting them on an isolated island that has little access to new bloodlines, we have made a closed registry system. In effect, the closed registry system is like setting up hundreds of Tristan da Cunhas.

If human populations were all like Tristan da Cunha, we’d be in a lot of misery. Each population would be highly susceptible to all sorts of diseases. Each would probably have its own disease. It wold be very bad for us.

Yet we seem to think it is perfectly fine for domestic dogs.

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