a1 Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, U.S.A.; Mailing address: P.O. Box 451, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238, U.S.A.
Results of recent studies in population genetics provide significant evidence that genetic changes may occur in many small, isolated, preserve populations. The primary phenomena producing these changes will be inbreeding, genetic drift, and the ‘founder’ and ‘bottleneck’ effects. A permanent reduction in population vigour and in genetic diversity may result from these processes.