Differential Reproductive Success

Flies mating on wood. Getty/Pamela Flora / EyeEm

 Every generation in a population faces its challenges and its triumphs. The overall goal of any species is to continue to the next generation. This is accomplished, of course, by producing as many offspring as possible to ensure that at least some of them survive and, in turn, reproduce to create the next generation. Individuals within the population of a species often compete to make sure that it is their DNA and their traits that are the ones passed down to the next generation to carry on the species.

However, not all individuals are created equal. This is a cornerstone of the Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection. Sometimes called "survival of the fittest", those individuals with traits better suited to their environments will live long enough to reproduce and pass those advantageous adaptations to the next generation while those with unfavorable traits will most likely die off before they can reproduce. Therefore, those less desirable adaptations will no longer be a part of the gene pool.

The term "differential reproductive success" refers to the difference between individuals in a given generation and how many offspring they are able to leave. The "fittest" leave more offspring while those not suited to the environment leave fewer or even none. This means that differential reproductive success is dependent upon natural selection and how favorable the traits happen to be.for the environment at any given time.

It is what leads to either the increase or decrease of alleles present in a population's gene pool.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Scoville, Heather. "Differential Reproductive Success." ThoughtCo, Mar. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/differential-reproductive-success-1224662. Scoville, Heather. (2017, March 28). Differential Reproductive Success. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/differential-reproductive-success-1224662 Scoville, Heather. "Differential Reproductive Success." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/differential-reproductive-success-1224662 (accessed March 18, 2018).