Population Evolution

Free Response

Solve for the genetic structure of a population with 12 homozygous recessive individuals (yy), 8 homozygous dominant individuals (YY), and 4 heterozygous individuals (Yy).


p = (8*2 + 4)/48 = .42; q = (12*2 + 4)/48 = .58; p2 = .17; 2pq = .48; q2 = .34

Explain the Hardy-Weinberg principle of equilibrium theory.


The Hardy-Weinberg principle of equilibrium is used to describe the genetic makeup of a population. The theory states that a population’s allele and genotype frequencies are inherently stable: unless some kind of evolutionary force is acting upon the population, generation after generation of the population would carry the same genes, and individuals would, as a whole, look essentially the same.

Imagine you are trying to test whether a population of flowers is undergoing evolution. You suspect there is selection pressure on the color of the flower: bees seem to cluster around the red flowers more often than the blue flowers. In a separate experiment, you discover blue flower color is dominant to red flower color. In a field, you count 600 blue flowers and 200 red flowers. What would you expect the genetic structure of the flowers to be?


Red is recessive so q2 = 200/800 = 0.25; q = 0.5; p = 1 - q = 0.5; p2 = 0.25; 2pq = 0.5. You would expect 200 homozygous blue flowers, 400 heterozygous blue flowers, and 200 red flowers.