God gifted His living creatures with the ability to adapt to new or changing environments. Genetic diversity in adaptation refers to variation within created kinds of organisms. For example, consider the wide variety of dogs—they come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Humans also exhibit a large amount of variation. Observable variation in the appearance of different kinds of creatures is referred to as phenotype. Phenotypic diversity is largely based on an organism’s genetic makeup (genome). The genome exhibits variation in DNA sequence called genetic diversity.
Genetic diversity is an important feature of adaptation, as evidenced by the fact that animals experience the accumulation and expression of harmful mutations during inbreeding (mating of close relatives). Inbreeding lowers the genetic diversity in a population and makes the creatures less robust and adaptable. Even among some types of plants that have self-fertilizing flowers, significant levels of out-crossing—where pollen is transferred via wind, insects, etc.—still occur and contribute to the enhancement of genetic diversity.
Genetic diversity is related to different parts of an organism’s genome. When genomes are compared within created kinds, certain portions are very stable and remain very similar among individuals, while other parts of the genome are extremely variable. Clearly, genetic variability is part of God’s design for plants and animals, but it is employed as an engineered system with limitations. These systems of genetic variability are just beginning to be understood; they involve not only diversity in actual DNA sequence, but also diversity in heritable chemical modifications to the DNA (methylation) and in the proteins that package the DNA (acetylation). This type of heritable variation is called epigenetic modification. It does not actually change the base sequence of DNA, but influences its function and adds another important aspect to genetic variation….
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