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Biology 32: Evolutionary Biology Computer simulations of evolutionary forces, 2010 Type your name here


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Biology 32: Evolutionary Biology Computer simulations of evolutionary forces, 2010


Type your name here



  1. The default settings in Allele A1 demonstrate Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. These settings include initial frequencies of 0.5 for alleles A1 and A2 and the assumptions of no mutation, no selection, no migration, no genetic drift (infinite population size), and random mating. Run this simulation and convince yourself that these conditions result in no change in the allele frequencies and also that the genotype frequencies can be predicted by the allele frequencies.

Now, try different values for the starting frequency of allele A1 and run several simulations. Does your experimentation verify that any starting frequencies are in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium? Explain how you know.


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  1. Now change the population size to 1000 and re-run this simulation (starting with an allele A1 frequency of 0.5). Run this simulation five times. Does the same thing happen each time? Why or why not? You will probably want to select the "Multiple" button, which will allow you to compare the different simulations.

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Experiment by changing the initial population size (use 10, 100, and 10,000) and running each of these simulations several times. It may help if you use a different color for each population size. Is the effect of a reduced population size (i.e., genetic drift) similar or different for the population sizes you have modeled? Given what you know about genetic drift, explain your results.
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  1. Under drift, if we track allele A1 for long enough, eventually it will either be fixed (frequency=1) or be lost (frequency=0). Use this program to quantify how the initial frequency of an allele relates to the probability of either its fixation or its loss? Think about how you can use AlleleA1 to determine this.

Reset the program to the default values and then change the population size to 100. Run this simulation and record whether allele A1 is either fixed or lost from the population. Ignore those runs in which allele A1 neither fixes or is lost. Repeat this simulation a total of 30 times, recording each time whether allele A1 is fixed or lost. What % of simulations fixed allele A1? What % lost allele A1?


type your results here
Now chose a different initial frequency for allele A1 (one that will help you answer the question posed above). Repeat this simulation 30 times, again recording the number of times allele A1 is either fixed or lost. What initial frequency for allele A1 did you choose? Given this frequency, what % of simulations fixed allele A? What % lost allele A1?
type your results here
Finally, chose a third starting frequency for allele A1 to drive home the point. Again, repeat this simulation 30 times, recording the number of times allele A1 is either fixed or lost. What initial frequency for allele A1 did you choose? Given this frequency, what % of simulations fixed allele A1? What % lost allele A1?
type your results here



  1. Is genetic drift a creative or destructive force with regard to genetic variation within populations? What about between a set of subpopulations?

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  1. Reset to the default parameters and then set the initial frequency of allele A1 equal to 0.05 and the starting population size to 100. Run this simulation several times. What usually happens to the A1 allele and why?

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Now make A1 a slightly beneficial and dominant allele using the relative fitness values A1A1=1, A1A2=1, and A2A2=0.9. Run the simulation several times. What happens and why?
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  1. Set the population size to infinite, and change the number of generations to 100. Now create another case with the A1 allele favored by natural selection. What relative fitness values did you use? Enter them below.




wA1A1 =

?

wA1A2 =

?

wA2A2 =

?

Given your fitness values, is allele A1 dominant, recessive, or co-dominant?


type your answer here



  1. Reset to the default values, but change the initial frequency of allele A1 to 0.05 and select the Multiple button so you can compare two scenarios. Next, change the fitness values to create two different cases, one where allele A1 is beneficial and dominant and another where A1 is beneficial and recessive. Enter your values in the table below. Compare the rate of fixation for a dominant versus a recessive beneficial allele A1.







A1
Dominant


A1
Recessive


wA1A1 =

?

?

wA1A2 =

?

?

wA2A2 =

?

?

Summarize the differences in the time to fixation (i.e., the number of generations before the beneficial A1 allele is fixed) between the two scenarios.


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Why does this make sense?
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  1. Reset to the default values before continuing, but change the number of generations to 100. Pigmentation in Gila monsters is controlled by a single locus with two alleles: Or and B. Individuals homozygous for the Or allele are mostly orange and so blend in with the reddish rock surroundings they inhabit, whereas individuals homozygous for allele B are mostly black. As a result, mostly black Gila monsters survive about three-quarters as well as do mostly orange Gila monsters.

Heterozygous individuals are speckled orange and black. Gila monsters advertise their toxicity by contrasting patterns of orange and black, and individuals with this patterning spend less time defending themselves and more time eating (& having babies) than do single-color individuals. On average, orange Gila monsters reproduce only about 80% as well as speckled individuals. Model this scenario in AlleleA1, assuming allele Or is allele A1. Fill in the fitness values you used in the Table below.




wA1A1 =

?

wA1A2 =

?

wA2A2 =

?

Run this simulation. What happens to the frequency of allele A1?


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What determines the frequency of allele A1? How can you change its frequency and why does this make sense to you?
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  1. Use the equation in Box 6.8 on p. 202 in your text to calculate the necessary fitness values for the genotypes in order to maintain allele A1 at a frequency of 0.2. Enter these fitness values below.




wA1A1 =

?

wA1A2 =

?

wA2A2 =

?

This type of scenario has a name. What is it and how can you recognize it? What is the consequence of this type of evolution for genetic variation within populations?


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  1. Reset to the default parameters and create a case of underdominance. What fitness values did you use and how do you know it is a case of underdominance?




wA1A1 =

?

wA1A2 =

?

wA2A2 =

?

type your answer here


Keep your relative fitness values, but change the following parameters: population size = 1000 and generations = 100. Run this case of underdominance several times. What happens?
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Maintain your case of underdominance, but make the fitness values for the two homozygotes equal to one another (if they are already, don't change anything). Run this simulation (balanced underdominance) several (e.g., 5 to 10) times. What happens?
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Next, change the initial frequency of allele A1 and re-run the simulation several times. What happens? Vary the initial frequency of allele A1 until you notice a pattern. Summarize that pattern below.
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  1. Reset to the default parameters, but select the Multiple button. Next, set-up another case of balanced underdominance (i.e., both homozygotes have the same relative fitness values), but with no migration and no mutation. Enter your fitness values below. Start with a population size of 1000 and an initial allele frequency of A1 = 0.5. Run this simulation several times for 500 generations. What happens?




wA1A1 =

?

wA1A2 =

?

wA2A2 =

?

type your answer here


Now add migration among your populations. Try a migrant rate of 1 in a hundred. What happened? What is the significance of migrants to genetic variation in these simulated populations?
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Re-set the migration rate to zero, but add mutation (e.g., 0.001) in one or both directions (e.g. allele A1 to allele A2 and vice versa)? Is the result similar or different to the pattern of migration modeled above. Which type of mutation did you model and what was the result?
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  1. Reset the default values, but enter a population size of 2000, and set the number of generations to 1000. Use fitness values that make allele A1 deleterious in the recessive state and enter these in the table below.




wA1A1 =

?

wA1A2 =

?

wA2A2 =

?

Given the values above, will allele A1 be fixed, lost, or maintained at some equilibrium frequency? Run the above simulation for 1000 generations - were you correct?


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Now, try a case of mutation-selection balance. Refer to the section on mutation-selection balance in your textbook, and determine how much mutation (& in which direction) is necessary to maintain allele A1 at a frequency of 0.125?
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Consider faster mutation rates (e.g., Chernobyl, Three Mile Island). For the case modeled above, calculate the frequency of allele A1 assuming a mutation rate (from allele A2 to allele A1) of 0.01? Run the simulation with the altered mutation rate – were you correct?
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Now change the mutation rates such that the rate from allele A1 to allele A2 is 0.001 and the rate from allele A2 to allele A1 is 0. Wait! Before you press “Run” – what will happen and why? What two forces are at work here?


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  1. Reset the parameters to the default settings, but change the number of generations to 10,000 and a low mutation rate (0.0001) from allele A2 to allele A1. Now make allele A1 slightly deleterious in the recessive state by changing the fitness of the A1A1 genotype to 0.9. Notice that allele A1, although it is harmful, is not eliminated from this population but instead is maintained at a very low frequency. (Note: You can confirm this by running this simulation over 100,000 generations).

There are two possible hypotheses for why allele A1 is not lost completely. First, mutation from A2 to A1 may be recreating allele A1 faster than it is being eliminated by selection. How can you test this idea? Hint: Change only 1 parameter from the conditions above, then re-run the simulation to determine if allele A1 is still maintained. Answer the following questions.


What parameter did you change and what value was used? type your answer here
Can mutation explain the maintenance of allele A1 in this population? type your answer here
Alternatively, allele A1 may be maintained because the deleterious allele “hides” in the heterozygous condition. Because heterozygotes (in this simulation) do not suffer a fitness cost, allele A1 is very difficult to purge from the population. How will you test this hypothesis?
What parameter did you change and what value was used? type your answer here
Evaluate the second hypothesis for the maintenance of allele A1? type your answer here



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