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 Post subject: Flaids question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:40 pm 
Lebom
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I recently read "Priestess of the White" by Trudi Canavan which features a flying hominid species called the Si. The Si aren't very numerous, so they have a small gene pool. The small gene pool means they are prone genetic problems, e.g. a few are born unable to fly.

This set me thinking about the Flaids. According to the Almeopedia, there's only 750,000 of them. I wonder if this makes them prone to genetic problems and what those might be? What steps would they take to avoid them?

I ask because answers to these questions could usefully add to the scenario.

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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:54 pm 
Lebom
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I am not sure how small of a population is too small for gene-pool purposes, but there are two big things which occur to me that would affect this question. The first would be how large the Flaid population has been in the past (early Flaid history seems to be quite obscure so unless Mark discovers or reveals some new sources, we don't know much about this) and the second would be how much different Flaid populations in different parts of their territory interbreed with each other. I could imagine a diverse range of gene populations in different parts of Flora which historically were isolated from each other because of difficulties of travel, and which are now interbreeding because of modern technology changing migration patterns. On the other hand, Flora ain't that big, so there probably was a certain amount of intermingling between villages anyway.

The same sort of information about the Ktuvoks would be interesting, as I believe I saw that their population numbers were even lower than those of the Flaids.


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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:55 pm 
Boardlord
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Maybe that's why they can't fly. :)

But so far as I know, 750,000 is perfectly viable genetically. Quite a few human tribes have far less than that, and I think biologists only really worry about a species if it gets under 1000.


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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:50 pm 
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The Toba Eruption is believed to have reduced the H. sapiens population to 15,000, and humanity turned out just fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:48 pm 
Avisaru
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Yeah, 750000 is basically what the entire world population would have looked like pre-agriculture.

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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:54 pm 
Sanno
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Hallow XIII wrote:
Yeah, 750000 is basically what the entire world population would have looked like pre-agriculture.


If anything, that's quite generous...

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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:10 pm 
Lebom
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Sounds like they're OK, then. I hadn't thought about prehistoric population numbers and Kadmii's link on the Toba Catastrophe Theory proved very interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:14 pm 
Sanno
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I guess it's probably easier to develop distinctly different subspecies with small populations, though, if the groups are largely isolated from one another.

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 Post subject: Re: Flaids question
PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:01 pm 
Avisaru
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There are only 320,000 of us Icelanders and although there is some immigration (about 50 people a year), we seem to have survived relatively well without too much inbreeding for the past 1100 odd years. We do have one indigenous genetic disease called Hereditary cystatin C amyloid angiopathy that affects 9 families in the country, mostly women, and results from a mutation that occurred about 300 years ago. The Flaids might have something similar, though those affected by a serious condition such as this would be likely to die out without modern medicine, if the onset is before puberty.

(There's also only about 50,000 Greenlanders and 50,000 Faroese.)

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