Founder Effect vs Bottleneck Effect: Difference and Comparison

Men and animals moved from one continent to the other in ancient times. This led to the development of civilizations in various places. Migration occurred owing to a plethora of reasons, the most common of which was to find resources in distant lands.

These shifts in dwellings have long-term effects on the body constitution of the generations to come. Founder Effect and Bottleneck Effect are two such effects that ensue after a shift in the population. 

Key Takeaways

  1. The founder effect happens when a small group of individuals becomes isolated from the larger population.
  2. The bottleneck effect occurs when a population is drastically reduced in size, reducing genetic diversity.
  3. The founder effect can lead to genetic drift and the emergence of new genetic traits, while the bottleneck effect can lead to inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity.

Founder Effect vs Bottleneck Effect

The difference between Founder Effect and Bottleneck Effect is that while the former conveys that a limited number move to a different location and, down the ages, develop features that are similar to their native yet unique to their present location, on the other hand, the latter takes place when there is a mass shift in the area of location due to certain situations that make the present area of dwelling inhabitable.

Founder Effect vs Bottleneck Effect
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The founder Effect conveys a limited number of people or animals moving away from their native lands to another place. As a consequence of this moving, they develop characteristics that are typical to their area of dwelling and also retain characteristics of their natives, thereby giving rise to a unique body constitution down the ages.

The bottleneck Effect conveys that an entire or almost an entire mass move from one place to another due to certain unforeseen situations that make settling in that particular area difficult. As a result, the population has to move to a new place that is more habitable.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFounder EffectBottleneck Effect
MeaningThis is when a few people shift to a different location to settle there permanently and, as a result, develop unique genetic characteristics down the generations.This is when there is a shift from one place of dwelling to the other as a consequence of an event that makes a certain area inhabitable.
ReasonsTo venture into new lands and develop a new settlementDue to the occurrence of certain natural or man-made events that makes life inhabitable
Original Settlement’s ImpactSince only a few people move away, the native settlement remains untamperedSince the entire or almost the entire population shifts, there is a major impact on the native settlement
WillThe people shift wilfully to venture distant landsThe shift may not always be wilful but a consequence of a certain devastating event
EvolutionIt can further the process of evolutionMinimum or no significant contribution

What is Founder Effect?

This happens when a few people drift off from their native lands to relocate to a new and perceived better location. The population then expands and grows into a new settlement. The dwellers of this settlement develop certain bodily constitutions that are typical to them and are also similar to their native.

It does not occur as a consequence of some devastating event but more so out of the will to venture into new possibilities. Not just men but animals relocate in search of new or more resources.

It is a known fact that if we settle in a new location, our body adapts to our surroundings. This ability to adapt also brings about certain changes to our physicality down the generations. Thereby differentiating their genetic type from their natives. 

As only a handful of people move to a new place, the native settlement is not affected by this shift. Life continues to be the same for them. The new settlement then grows and develops unique characteristics that are unique to them despite retaining a few qualities of their native people.

This is what furthers the process of evolution. Many settlements over the ages have come about as a result of this process. This is how people or animals living in a certain area are different from those living in other areas.

founder effect

What is Bottleneck Effect?

This is when there is a mass movement of the population from one place to the other. The reason behind this shift is the result of a man-made or naturally occurring event that makes residing in a certain place, particularly inhabitable.

It is not unique to people as even animals relocate if they realize that a different location is more conducive. As the entire or almost the entire population moves to a new place, there is not much difference in their characteristics down the ages.

However, they do develop certain characteristics that are unique to their present area of the dwelling. The movement occurs when the people or animals suffer devastating consequences that make their life in a certain land extremely taxing.

The shift might not always be wilful but is more of a forced consequence of a certain external factor. The new settlement then develops certain characteristics that are unique to their area of residence.

The effect of it might not be very prominent in the process of evolution, but it does have an impact. Since there is a movement of the entire mass, the native population is affected tremendously.

bottleneck effect

Main Differences Between Founder Effect and Bottleneck Effect

  1. While Founder Effect conveys a limited number of people or animals moving away from their native lands to another place, Bottleneck Effect conveys that an entire or almost entire mass move from one place to another due to certain unforeseen situations that make settling in that particular area difficult.
  2. The reason that inspires Founder Effect is the desire to venture into new lands. In contrast, the reason that leads to Bottleneck Effect is the happening of certain events that make life in an area inhabitable. 
  3. There is no impact on the native population in the former. On the other hand, since the entire or almost the entire population relocates, the native population is largely impacted by the Bottleneck Effect.
  4. People relocate wilfully to venture into new possibilities, in the case of the Founder Effect. However, in the case of the Bottleneck Effect, the movement is not always wilful but forced.
  5. Founder Effect has the potential to contribute to the process of evolution. Whereas the Bottleneck Effect may or may not contribute to evolution.
References
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2407137
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10592-009-0013-z

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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