Modeling the Mechanisms of Evolution
(an R Shiny App)
By Jackie Matthes
View of the user interface for the Modeling the Mechanisms of Evolution R Shiny app.
This resource is an R Shiny app that contains simulation models for genetic drift, gene flow, and natural selection, the three core population-level processes that can lead to evolution. Within the app, users can change initial conditions for allele frequencies and the key parameters that influence rates of evolution to run their own simulations and observe how these processes influence shifts in allele frequency. The app includes separate simulations for each individual evolutionary process, and a final simulation that puts all three processes together.
The models simulate changes in the frequency of two alleles, A and a, of a diploid organism through many generations of a population. Diploid combinations of these two alleles produce three possible phenotypes, described by the genotypes AA, Aa, and aa. Users manipulate parameters such as population size, allele frequency, phenotype fitness, the time at which two populations are connected, and the rate of reproduction across two populations to explore the frequency of phenotypes and alleles over multiple generations.
This app was developed for use in an introductory biology course as a pedagogical tool for introducing students to simulation modeling, but could be used in a variety of teaching settings.
Jackie Matthes (2018), "Modeling the Mechanisms of Evolution," https://qubeshub.org/resources/evopopulations.