The lack of interbreeding or little genetic mixing between organisms of the same species.
Genetic isolation may be the result of geographic isolation or of other isolation mechanisms that prevented successful reproduction. This may lead to speciation (formation of new species) and endangering species to extinction due to a small gene pool.
Examples of genetic isolation are the ecological community that are secluded away from others (such as Tristan da Cunha or Pitcairn Islands), crossing of plants which produce sterile offspring, and human influence on genetic isolates through restricted breeding of dogs.
(Genetic isolation differs from gene isolation, which is the isolation of a particular gene from the rest for use in genetic engineering).
Related forms: genetic isolate (noun).
See also: speciation, gene pool.