Understanding Evolution

Detecting microevolutionary change

We've defined microevolution as a change in gene frequency in a population and a population as a group of organisms that share a common gene pool — like all the individuals of one beetle species living on a particular mountaintop.

Imagine that you go to the mountaintop this year, sample these beetles, and determine that 80% of the genes in the population are for green coloration and 20% of them are for brown coloration. You go back the next year, repeat the procedure, and find a new ratio: 60% green genes to 40% brown genes.

Microevolution - change in gene frequency

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You have detected a microevolutionary pattern: a change in gene frequency. A change in gene frequency over time means that the population has evolved.

The big question is, how did it happen?


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Understanding Evolution © 2015 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California