A genetic paradox is a newly defined puzzle in invasion biology. The paradox comes to light when newly found, invasive populations have overcome the plights caused by low genetic diversity and succeeded in establishing a population. The paradox asks the question of how do newly founded populations overcome the significant threat of local extinction and become established, invasive populations? [1]

There are multiple factors that create the genetic paradox in invasion biology. Multiple introductions of invasive species ensure that there is a flow of genetic diversity in the invasive population. These introductions may be from multiple, varying vectors that also ensure a steady stream of genetic diversity. Recently, there have been numerous case studies to help breakdown the paradox and explain the success of invasive populations against evolutionary odds. [1] Aquatic invasive species are generally good examples of the genetic paradox. The spiny water flea, D.pulex, exemplifies invasive success although it populations usually contain a clonal genotype. The alligator weed, A.philoxeroides, are able to invade both terrestrial and aquatic environments, and this ecological plasticity aids its success as an invader. [1]

The genetic paradox is a relatively new branch of invasive biology that is currently being researched to explain the success of invasive species against evolutionary odds.


1) Roman, J., & Darling, J. (2007). Paradox lost: genetic diversity and the success of aquatic invasions. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, 22, 454-464.

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