|Index to this page|
|Results of random union of the two gametes produced by two individuals, each heterozygous for a given trait. As a result of meiosis, half the gametes produced by each parent with carry allele B; the other half allele b.||Results of random union of the gametes produced by an entire population with a gene pool containing 80% B and 20% b.|
|0.5 B||0.5 b||0.8 B||0.2 b|
|0.5 B||0.25 BB||0.25 Bb||0.8 B||0.64 BB||0.16 Bb|
|0.5 b||0.25 Bb||0.25 bb||0.2 b||0.16 Bb||0.04 bb|
Will gray coated hamsters eventually disappear?No. Let's see why not.
So we have duplicated the initial situation exactly. The proportion of allele b in the population has remained the same. The heterozygous hamsters ensure that each generation will contain 4% gray hamsters.Now let us look at an algebraic analysis of the same problem using the expansion of the binomial (p+q)2.
(p+q)2 = p2 + 2pq + q2
(0.8 + 0.2)2 = (0.8)2 + 2(0.8)(0.2) + (0.2)2 = 064 + 0.32 + 0.04
The algebraic method enables us to work backward as well as forward. In fact, because we chose to make B fully dominant, the only way that the frequency of B and b in the gene pool could be known is by determining the frequency of the recessive phenotype (gray) and computing from it the value of q.
q2 = 0.04, so q = 0.2, the frequency of the b allele in the gene pool. Since p + q = 1, p = 0.8 and allele B makes up 80% of the gene pool. Because B is completely dominant over b, we cannot distinguish the Bb hamsters from the BB ones by their phenotype. But substituting in the middle term (2pq) of the expansion gives the percentage of heterozygous hamsters. 2pq = (2)(0.8)(0.2) = 0.32
So, recessive genes do not tend to be lost from a population no matter how small their representation.So long as certain conditions are met (to be discussed next),
gene frequencies and genotype ratios in a randomly-breeding population remain constant from generation to generation.
This is known as the Hardy-Weinberg law in honor of the two men who first realized the significance of the binomial expansion to population genetics and hence to evolution.Evolution involves changes in the gene pool. A population in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium shows no change. What the law tells us is that populations are able to maintain a reservoir of variability so that if future conditions require it, the gene pool can change. If recessive alleles were continually tending to disappear, the population would soon become homozygous. Under Hardy-Weinberg conditions, genes that have no present selective value will nonetheless be retained.
The frequency of gene B and its allele b will not remain in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium if the rate of mutation of B -> b (or vice versa) changes.
|Link to Mutations|
By itself, this type of mutation probably plays only a minor role in evolution; the rates are simply too low.However, gene (and whole genome) duplication — a form of mutation — probably has played a major role in evolution. Link to a discussion.
In any case, evolution absolutely depends on mutations because this is the only way that new alleles are created. After being shuffled in various combinations with the rest of the gene pool, these provide the raw material on which natural selection can act.
Many species are made up of local populations whose members tend to breed within the group. Each local population can develop a gene pool distinct from that of other local populations.However, members of one population may breed with occasional immigrants from an adjacent population of the same species. This can introduce new genes or alter existing gene frequencies in the residents.
In many plants and some animals, gene flow can occur not only between subpopulations of the same species but also between different (but still related) species. This is called hybridization. If the hybrids later breed with one of the parental types, new genes are passed into the gene pool of that parent population. This process is called introgression. It is simply gene flow between species rather than within them.
In either case, gene flow increases the variability of the gene pool.
Drift produces evolutionary change, but there is no guarantee that the new population will be more fit than the original one. Evolution by drift is aimless, not adaptive.
|Links to examples of|
One of the cornerstones of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is that mating in the population must be random. If individuals (usually females) are choosy in their selection of mates, the gene frequencies may become altered. Darwin called this sexual selection.
Nonrandom mating seems to be quite common. Breeding territories, courtship displays, "pecking orders" can all lead to it. In each case certain individuals do not get to make their proportionate contribution to the next generation.
Humans seldom mate at random preferring phenotypes like themselves (e.g., size, age, ethnicity). This is called assortative mating. (Drawing by Koren © 1977 The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.)Marriage between close relatives is a special case of assortative mating. The closer the kinship, the more alleles shared and the greater the degree of inbreeding. Inbreeding can alter the gene pool. This is because it predisposes to homozygosity. Potentially harmful recessive alleles — invisible in the parents — become exposed to the forces of natural selection in the children.
It turns out that many species — plants as well as animals — have mechanisms be which they avoid inbreeding. Examples:
Certain genotypes are less successful than others in surviving through to the end of their reproductive period.
The evolutionary impact of mortality selection can be felt anytime from the formation of a new zygote to the end (if there is one) of the organism's period of fertility. Mortality selection is simply another way of describing Darwin's criteria of fitness: survival. Link to an example of powerful mortality selection in a human population causing a marked deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.
In each of these examples of natural selection, certain phenotypes are better able than others to contribute their genes to the next generation. Thus, by Darwin's standards, they are more fit. The outcome is a gradual change in the gene frequencies in that population.
p = 0.6 and q = 0.4The heterozygotes are just as successful at reproducing themselves as the homozygous dominants, but the homozygous recessives are only 80% as successful. That is, for every 100 AA (or Aa) individuals that reproduce successfully only 80 of the aa individuals succeed in doing so. The fitness (w) of the recessive phenotype is thus 80% or 0.8.
Their relative disadvantage can also be expressed as a selection coefficient, s, where
s = 1 − wIn this case, s = 1 − 0.8 = 0.2.
The change in frequency of the dominant allele (Δp) after one generation is expressed by the equation
|s p0 q02|
|1 - s q02|
where p0 and q0 are the initial frequencies of the dominant and recessive alleles respectively. Substituting, we get
|1 − (0.2)(0.4)2||0.968|
The new equilibrium produces a population of
If the fitness of the homozygous recessives continues unchanged, the calculations can be reiterated for any number of generations. If you do so, you will find that although the frequency of the recessive genotype declines, the rate at which a is removed from the gene pool declines; that is, the process becomes less efficient at purging allele a. This is because when present in the heterozygote, a is protected from the effects of selection.