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Old November 4, 2016   #11
Fusion_power's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 2,065

Must be late in the fall, everyone is getting grouchy. Grouchy is not impressed and wants all to keep hands off!

I'm going to give a bit better explanation. Think of a species as a set of programs that work together. Over a lot of time, those programs have been more or less optimized to continue producing the life form they code for. Cross that species with another life form, even if it is closely related, and a lot of those optimizations are going to be disabled. But that isn't the end of the story.

Sometimes one species has a program (gene) that another lacks. What if we could lift that gene out and insert it into the other species. Cross breeding can do this. We can move a gene for nematode tolerance out of a wild species and into the domestic tomato. Now we have almost all of our original tomato programs (genes) complete, but we added a new gene that codes for disease tolerance.

So to partially answer your question, increasing diversity for the sake of increasing diversity usually just breaks a lot of genetic programs. Targeted gene transfer from one species to another can add new capabilities and enhance another species.

Tomatoes - meaning the domesticated species - have very little genetic diversity. Crossing them with a wild species has the potential to improve production, disease tolerance, regional adaptation, and many other traits.
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