What Is Variation in Science?

Variation, a term in genetic science, refers to a genetic change that causes differing characteristics between organisms in a certain species. Much of the variation within and between species is due to differential regulation of genes and alleles. Gene alleles determine distinct traits passed on from parents to offspring.

Genetic variations occur due to recombination of genes, mutation, hybridization, gene flow or sexual reproduction. The exchange or recombination of genes during fertilization and meiosis results in a wide variety of new possible gene combinations different from those of the parents.

Mutations are random alterations in the genes or in the deoxyribonucleic acid of the sex cells that result in creating variations in the offspring. Hybridization can lead to viable species in animals and plants by natural means or by human intervention through implantation. The changes in chromosome structure and numbers create different characteristics.

Variation always takes place within the boundaries of genetic information. Genetic science calls this boundary the gene pool. Due to variation, the characteristics present in the gene pool of a species exhibit themselves in different ways.

Gene variation is critical to the process of natural selection. The environment decides which of the variations are more favorable. The variation within a species increases the possibility that at least a part of the population of the species survives under changed environmental conditions.