Today, biologists studying evolution often focus on a particular population. Recall that a population is a collection of individuals of the same species in a given area. Because all members of a population can interbreed, they share a common group of genes, called a gene pool. A gene pooi is the combined genetic information of all the members of a particular population.
A gene pooi typically contains two or more alleles—or forms of a certain gene—for each inheritable trait. For example, a mouse population may have two alleles for fur color, as shown in Figure 16—2. The gene pool for that trait is the combination of all the alleles in the population.
The relative frequency of an allele is the number of times that allele occurs in a gene pool compared with the number of times other alleles occur. Frequencies are often expressed in percents. Here, for example, 40 percent of the alleles are B (black fur).
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