The Inbreeding Coefficient (F) measures the probability of two alleles at a random locus being identical by decent from a common ancestor of the parents. Consequently, it is a measure of the degree to which a genotype is more likely to be homozygous (AA) as opposed to heterozygous (AB) as a result of the parents being related.1 As inbreeding increases, the frequency of homozygous alleles increases, thus reducing the amount of genetic diversity found within the population.2 F measures the difference from the initial or expected level of homozygosity within a population as resulting from inbreeding.1

Inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity can have negative effects on individuals within the population, and the inbreeding coefficient (F) has several related practical applications. F can be used to predict the effects of inbreeding depression and assess the risk of inheriting genetic defects.1 Inbreeding depression describes the reduction in fitness and viability that results from inbreeding.2


  1. "The Coefficient of Inbreeding (F) and its Applications." Genetics and Quantitative Aspects of Genealogy, n.d. Web. 24 March 2015.
  2. "Inbreeding." ABRI (Agricultural Business Research Institute). n.d. Web. 24 March 2015

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