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Lesson summary for:
Problem-based discussion: Simulations of genetic drift


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This set of five PowerPoint slides featuring questions for problem-based discussion (i.e., open-ended questions that engage students with each other and with course material) can be easily incorporated into lectures on genetic drift.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

2-20 minutes

Teaching tips:
With increased experience, the instructor will be able to develop additional problem-based discussion questions, optimizing them for particular applications and topics. To learn more about how problem-based discussion and other types of active-learning activities can be easily incorporated into lecture (and for more downloadable slides!), visit our guide to active learning in the undergraduate classroom.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • The Hardy-Weinberg equation describes expectations about the gene pool of a population that is not evolving—one that is very large, mates randomly, and does not experience mutation, natural selection, or gene flow.

  • Evolution results from genetic drift acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • Random factors can affect the survival of individuals and of populations.

  • Smaller populations are more strongly affected by genetic drift than are larger populations.

  • Genetic drift can cause loss of genetic variation in a population.

Teacher background:

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