DNA fingerprints, prepared from mixes of DNA of individuals sampled from lines of Japanese quail selected for high or low 4-week body weight, were used to evaluate the relative contribution of several evolutionary forces to genetic diversity among populations. Comparisons between lines--two replicates of each selection direction and a control unselected line--were used to determine the frequency of line-specific DNA fingerprint bands produced by each of three major evolutionary forces: 1) mutation; 2) genetic drift; 3) selection. The latter force is expected to generate line-specific bands only if there is linkage disequilibrium between DNA fingerprint loci and quantitative loci (QTLs) controlling body weight. Using probes 33.6 and R18.1, an average of 48.4 DNA fingerprint bands in each line were analyzed. On average, 27.8 bands were found to be line-specific among the 96.8 (2 x 48.4) bands analyzed in an average comparison between pairs of lines. Based on the frequencies of line-specific bands in each particular comparison, it was calculated that 21% of the line-specific bands were due to mutation, 11% due to a single genetic drift event, 11% due to selection, 21% due to the combined effects of genetic drift and selection, 22% due to double independent events of genetic drift, and 14% due to undefined factors. Although evidence was found for a high frequency of genetic changes attributable to genetic drift, and a higher than expected frequency of linkage disequilibrium, the emphasis of this report is on the methodology suggested rather than on the particular results.