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Lecture 13: Hardy-Weinberg, Selection and Fitness

How do populations become better adapted to their environments? To find out, we'll throw Mendel's pigs to the wolves.

Independent study outcomes

Meaning of gene pool, allele frequency, genotype frequency

Gene Pool: The sum of all alleles at all gene loci in all individuals is called the population’s gene pool.

Allele frequency: the relative abundances of the different alleles.

Genotype frequency: the percentages of individuals possessing each genotype.

Conditions necessary for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium

1. No mutations are occurring (NO WEIRD SHIT)

2. The population is closed to migration from other populations. (NOBODY LEAVES THE HOUSE)

3. The population is infinite in size. (THERES PLENTY OF FISHIES IN THE SEA.)

4. All genotypes in the population survive and reproduce equally well. (YA”LL NEED TO LOVE THE CRAP OUT OF ONE ANOTHER)

5. Individuals in the population mate randomly with respect to genotypes. (NO RACIST SHIT)

Lecture outcomes

Allele frequencies in a population, given the genotype frequencies

Flower Color Genotype Number of Genotype Phenotype individuals frequencies Total number of C R alleles
Flower Color
Number of
Total number of
C R alleles 2
Total number
of C W alleles 2
2× 450=900
0× 450=0
C R C w
1× 500=500
1× 500=500
0× 50=0
2× 50=100
Calculate allele frequencies using the total of 1400+600=2000 alleles in the sample:
p= frequency of C R allele=1400/2000= 0.7
q= frequency of C W allele= 600/2000= 0.3
p + q = 0.7+0.3= 1.0

Genotype frequencies in the next generation, given the allele frequencies and assuming Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium

C R C R : p 2 = (0.7× 0.7) = 0.49 C R C w : 2pq= 2(0.7× 0.3) = 0.42 C W C W : q 2 = (0.3× 0.3) = 0.09

2 = (0.7 × 0.7) = 0.49 C R C w : 2pq= 2(0.7 × 0.3)

Whether a population is in HWE, given observed genotype or phenotype frequencies

If genotype frequencies can be predicted from allele frequencies, population is in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) at this locus. Allele frequencies will not change while this is true. (If the math prediction is correct, then HWE)

If not, one or more assumptions of HWE are violated. The population may be evolving. (If everything is not perfect, then WEIRD SHIT happens)

Difference between relative vs absolute fitness and how to calculate each

Usually defined as # surviving offspring produced over an individual’s lifetime (the # of shitheads you breed)

Influenced by survival to adulthood, longevity, attracting mates, fertility, offspring


standardize absolute fitness W to get relative fitness w (the ability to breed shitheads comparing to the regional shithead breeder of the year)

by definition, fittest genotype in a population has w = 1

all other genotypes w = W/Wmax

How the dominance status of alleles affects the response to selection

On their own, dominance and recessiveness don’t oppose selection; they don’t cause allele frequency to change.

However, the dominance status of allele interacts with selection. It can constrain selection.

Having same selection pressure against each genotype, then this would be same to having no selection pressure.

Effect of heterozygote advantage on genetic variation

Recessive allele can be reduced to lower and lower, but it never disappears, (even though it is harmful) it hides from selection. (Not expressed in heterozygotes.)

So the heterozygote provides genetic variation by shielding those harmful recessive alleles, stop them from goes to extinct. (It’s just like in Agents of SHIELD, how HYDRA hides inside SHIELD so that it survives so freakin long, even though it’s harmful and nobody likes them.)

Difference between positive and negative frequency-dependent selection, and how each affects genetic variation

negative frequency dependent selection

The fitness of a phenotype increases as it becomes rarer. (being different is actually GREAT)

The Vast Majority phenotype is attacked by prey and most of them die. And therefore being different makes you survive.

Could be a mating advantage. (IF there is no other male on earth, then I’d be marrying…)

positive frequency dependent selection

The fitness of a phenotype increases as it becomes more common.

Predators learn to recognize prey warning coloration; avoid common prey phenotypes. for example, predators getting sick eating a certain type of frog colour and then avoiding it

ONLY uneaten frogs survive to reproduce (All the other who doesn't look like poison DIES)