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What do you learn in the lab portion of a Population Genetics and Evolution course?

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The main component of the lab portion of a Population Genetics and Evolution course involves looking at the Hardy-Weinberg law of genetic equilibrium. This law provides a mathematical model for studying the evolutionary changes in the frequency of alleles, or genes.

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The Hardy-Weinberg law proposes that the frequency of alleles, another form of gene, and genotypes in a population will remain constant from generation to generation if the population is stable and in genetic equilibrium. In order for a population to remain at equilibrium, five conditions must hold true.

The first condition is that there is a large breeding population. A large breeding population ensures that chance alone will not disrupt the genetic equilibrium. The second condition is that there must be random mating, as opposed to assertive mating. The third condition is that there is no change due to allelic or gene mutation. This can be accomplished through a large breeding population. The fourth condition is that there can be no immigration or emigration in a population. If there was immigration or emigration, genes could enter or exit the population at will. The fifth condition is that there is no natural selection.

Other concepts within this lab include the estimation of allele frequency as found through the actual mathematical equation of the Hardy-Weinberg law.

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