Genetic diversity



Brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata) Nocturnal marsupial, Australia. rel=
Brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata) Nocturnal marsupial, Australia.
© Martin Harvey / WWF
Genes contain the information necessary for all life on Earth. They are passed on from parents to offspring, and contain the information that builds and maintains cells and determines the essential physical and biochemical characteristics of each organism.

Genetic diversity refers to the variety of genes within a species. Each species is made up of individuals that have their own particular genetic composition. Within a species there may also be discrete populations with distinctive genes.

To conserve the genetic diversity within a species, different populations must be conserved. This protects the genetic diversity that allows for adaptability to environmental changes and is therefore vital to species survival.