Hardy-Weinburg Equilibrium

Topics: Evolution, Population genetics, Allele frequency Pages: 3 (1134 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Hardy-Weinberg theorem states that the frequency of alleles and genotypes in a population's gene pool remain constant over the generations unless acted upon by agents other than sexual recombination. For example, take a population of mice that consists of 1,000 members. A specific allele, albino allele, is recessive within this species. 80% of the population expresses the normal phenotype- brown coloring, while the remaining 20% are albino. 640 members of the population have the genotype AA, 320 have Aa, and 40 have aa. If completely random mating were to occur, there would be an 80% chance that a gamete would bear the normal allele, A, and a 20% chance that the gamete would bear the albino allele, a. The resulting offspring will display the following genotype ratios: AA will have 64%, Aa 32% (the chance of the offspring having the A allele is 96%), and aa 4%. The offspring have the same genotype ratio as their parents. This example was one of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The next generation will express the same genotype ratio as their parents, and so on. But what exactly is needed to create Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium? (Basically, a population in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium s not evolving in any way.) Five specific factors are needed to create Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium within a population- a very large population, isolation from other populations, no net mutations, random mating, and no natural selection.

The first element needed to create Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is a very large population size. The larger the population, the less likely it is for genetic drift to occur. Genetic drift is a chance fluctuation in the gene pool that may change the frequencies of alleles. A large population can better represent the gene pool of the previous generation than a small one. In order to completely eliminate all chances of genetic drift, a population would have to be infinitely large. Thus, we can see here that perfect Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, which has...
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