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Appendix C Understanding Humans

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Western University
Anthropology 1026F/G
Andrew Nelson

Appendix C The basic approach in population genetics makes use of a mathematical model called the HardyWeinberg equilibrium equation postulates a set of conditions in a population where no evolution occurs In other words none of the forces of evolution are acting and all genes have an equal chance of recombining in each generation that is there is random mating of individuals More precisely the hypothetical conditions that such a population would be assumed to meet are as followed 1 the population is infinitely large this condition eliminates the possibility of random genetic drift or changes in allele frequencies due to change 2 there is no mutation thus no new alleles are being added by molecular changes in gametes3 there is no gene flow there is no exchange of genes with other populations that can alter allele frequencies4 natural selection is not operating specific alleles confer no advantage over others that might influence reproductive success 5 mating is random there are no factors that influence who mates with whom thus any female is assumed to have an equal chance of mating with any maleIf all these conditions are satisfied allele frequencies will not change from one generation to the next that is no evolution will take place and a permanent equilibrium will be maintained as long as these conditions prevail An evolutionary barometer is thus provided that may be used as a standard against which actual circumstances are compared Similar to the way a typical barometer is standardized under known temperature and altitude conditions the HardyWeinberg equilibrium is standardized under known evolutionary conditions Note that the idealized conditions that define the HardyWeinberg equilibrium
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