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Gene Flow: The change in gene frequency in a population due to migration of gametes or individuals (Animal migration) across population barriers. In contrast, in Genetic drift the cause of gene frequency changes are not a result of population or gamete movement.

Mutation, Gene Flow, and Genetic Drift

JoVE 10964

In a population that is not at Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the frequency of alleles changes over time. Therefore, any deviations from the five conditions of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium can alter the genetic variation of a given population. Conditions that change the genetic variability of a population include mutations, natural selection, non-random mating, gene flow, and genetic drift (small population size). The original sources of genetic variation are mutations, which are changes in the nucleotide sequence of DNA. Mutations create new alleles and increase genetic variability. Most mutations do not cause significant changes to the health or functioning of an organism. However, if a mutation reduces the chances of survival, the organism may die before reproducing. Therefore, such harmful mutations are likely to be eliminated by natural selection. Individuals in natural populations may also select their mates based on certain characteristics, and thus do not reproduce randomly. In this case, alleles for the traits that are selected against will become less frequent in the population. Furthermore, populations can experience gene flow, the transfer of alleles into and out of gene pools, due to migration. A classic example of gene flow is observed in most baboon species. Female baboons mate most frequently with dominant males in a troop. Juvenile ma

 Core: Population Genetics

Hardy-Weinberg & Genetic Drift - Student Protocol

JoVE 10560

Class Simulation
Begin by opening a new spreadsheet file. Following the Hardy-Weinberg equation where p is the frequency of a dominant allele A in a population, and q is defined as the frequency of a recessive allele B, input frequency p of allele A into cell B2, and frequency q of allele B into cell B3.
Assign the value 0.5 to cell C2.
Follo…

 Lab Bio

What is Population Genetics?

JoVE 10962

A population is composed of members of the same species that simultaneously live and interact in the same area. When individuals in a population breed, they pass down their genes to their offspring. Many of these genes are polymorphic, meaning that they occur in multiple variants. Such variations of a gene are referred to as alleles. The collective set of all the alleles within a population is known as the gene pool. While some alleles of a given gene might be observed commonly, other variants may be encountered at a much lower frequency. Gene pools are not static. The frequency and occurrence of alleles in a gene pool may change over time. For instance, allele frequencies change due to random mutations, natural selection, migration, and chance. Population genetics examines genetic variation within and between populations, and changes in allele frequencies across generations. Population geneticists use mathematical models to investigate and predict allele frequencies in populations. The gene pools of natural populations may vary significantly. One goal of population genetics is to determine genetic variation among different populations of the same species. Studying such variations has implications for species health, domestication, management and conservation. For instance, increased urbanization gradually fragments natural landscapes and leads to h

 Core: Population Genetics

Hardy-Weinberg Principle

JoVE 10963

Diploid organisms have two alleles of each gene, one from each parent, in their somatic cells. Therefore, each individual contributes two alleles to the gene pool of the population. The gene pool of a population is the sum of every allele of all genes within that population and has some degree of variation. Genetic variation is typically expressed as a relative frequency, which is the percentage of the total population that has a given allele, genotype or phenotype. In the early 20th century, scientists wondered why the frequency of some rarely-observed dominant traits did not increase in randomly-mating populations with each generation. For example, why does the dominant polydactyly trait (E, extra fingers and/or toes) not become more common than the usual number of digits (e) in many animal species? In 1908, this phenomenon of unchanged genetic variation across generations was independently demonstrated by a German physician, Wilhelm Weinberg, and a British Mathematician, G. H. Hardy. The principle later became known as Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The Hardy-Weinberg equation (p2 + 2pq + q2 = 1) elegantly relates allele frequencies to genotype frequencies. For instance, in a population with polydactyly cases, the gene pool contains E and e al

 Core: Population Genetics

Hardy-Weinberg & Genetic Drift- Concept

JoVE 10559

Evolutionary change is interesting and important to study, but changes in populations occur over long periods of time and in huge physical spaces and are therefore very difficult to measure. In general, studying phenomena like this requires the use of mathematical models which are built using parameters that can be conveniently measured. These models are then used to make predictions about how …

 Lab Bio

Limits to Natural Selection

JoVE 11000

Organisms that are well-adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce. However, natural selection does not lead to perfectly adapted organisms. Several factors constrain natural selection.

For one, natural selection can only act upon existing genetic variation. Hypothetically, red tusks may enhance elephant survival by deterring ivory-seeking poachers. However, if there are no gene variants—or alleles—for red tusks, natural selection cannot increase the prevalence of red tusks. The allele must first exist or arise through mutation. Tradeoffs also limit natural selection. While an allele for red tusks may protect against poaching, it might also make tusks brittle and less useful for fighting and foraging. Tradeoffs at the genomic level exist because natural selection acts upon individuals rather than alleles. Neighboring genes on the same chromosome are often linked and inherited together. If an allele for red tusks is passed on with an allele causing infertility, red tusks could disappear because the inherited combination does more harm than good.  Intermediate traits can also constrain natural selection. Imagine an elephant population with three variants of tusks: traditional, red tusks, and an intermediate rose. The rose tusks may be coveted by poachers, like trad

 Core: Natural Selection

Formation of Species

JoVE 10955

Speciation describes the formation of one or more new species from one or sometimes multiple original species. The resulting species are discrete from the parent species, and barriers to reproduction will typically exist. There are two primary mechanisms, speciation with and without geographic isolation—allopatric and sympatric speciation, respectively.

In allopatric speciation, gene flow between two populations of the same species is prevented by a geographic barrier, like a mountain range or habitat fragmentation. This is known as vicariance. For example, a drought may cause the water levels in a large lake to drop, leaving two or more smaller bodies of water in which the inhabitants are cut off from one another. Once in isolation, the individuals in these populations may face different external pressures, such as climate, resource availability or predation. These differences in natural selection combined with genetic drift and mutation over many generations of separation eventually result in the two populations becoming discrete species. This has been observed in lakes containing African cichlid fish, which display a vast array of species, many of which likely evolved due to allopatry. Dispersal can also produce allopatric speciation. For example, the parasitic sea anemone species Edwardsiella lineata lives on the east

 Core: Speciation and Diversity

Speciation Rates

JoVE 10956

Speciation usually occurs over a long evolutionary time scale, during which the species may be isolated or continue to interact. If two emerging species start to interbreed, reproductive barriers may be weak, and gene flow can occur again. At this point, the selection of hybrids across the two populations may either stabilize the newly mixed group into a single population or reinforce the distinction between them as new species. Speciation may occur gradually or rapidly, and in some cases is punctuated between long periods without change followed by rapid rates of speciation. In cases of speciation where two or more populations have become isolated for some time, they may reconnect. For example, in long periods of drought or climate change, large lakes can be split into many smaller lakes, isolating the inhabitants. The vast species diversity of African cichlid fish was fueled, in part, by periods of such population fragmentation. When the conditions changed, and fragmented lakes merged again, isolated populations got back into contact. When reconnection occurs, if pre-zygotic reproductive barriers are weak, individuals from the two different populations may begin to reproduce. If the fitness of the hybrid offspring is higher or unchanged compared to the parents, the populations can integrate and merge. This process is referred to as stability. Howeve

 Core: Speciation and Diversity

Hardy-Weinberg & Genetic Drift - Prep Student

JoVE 10620

Mathematical Modeling


Before beginning the mathematical modeling exercise make sure each computer has access to an either on or offline spreadsheet software program.



Simulation for Hardy-Weinberg and Genetic Drift


Prepare one set of beads…

 Lab Bio

Frequency-dependent Selection

JoVE 10960

When the fitness of a trait is influenced by how common it is (i.e., its frequency) relative to different traits within a population, this is referred to as frequency-dependent selection. Frequency-dependent selection may occur between species or within a single species. This type of selection can either be positive—with more common phenotypes having higher fitness—or negative, with rarer phenotypes conferring increased fitness. In positive frequency-dependent selection, common phenotypes have a fitness advantage. This scenario is often seen in interactions where mimicry is involved. In the Neotropical region of Central America, the butterfly species Heliconius cydno and Heliconius sapho are involved in a Müllerian mimicry partnership. Both butterflies are black and white, a common aposematic signal in the animal kingdom that warns of toxicity, venom, bad taste, or other predator deterrents. Interestingly, H. cydno can hybridize with a closely related sister species, H. melpomene, and produce offspring. H. melpomene is predominantly black and red. The resulting mixed white-red-black hybrid offspring are significantly less fit. In addition to the female hybrids being sterile, predators do not recognize the colors as deterrent warnings, and butterflies of either parent species do not recognize

 Core: Natural Selection
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