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Exploring Population Change without Selection: Avida-Ed Lab Book Exercise 4

By Amy Lark, Cory Kohn1, Jim Smith1, Louise Mead2, Robert T Pennock1, Wendy Johnson

1. Michigan State University 2. BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action

An introductory activity exploring how a population changes without natural selection using the Avida-ED simulation.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Avida-ED Active LENS

Version 1.0 - published on 21 May 2020 doi:10.25334/JWTX-EB75 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Avida-Ed 4.png


In this exercise you will investigate the effects of genetic drift alone by ensuring that adaptive evolution as a result of selection cannot occur. Since natural selection requires phenotypically expressed genotypic variation, we must eliminate the source of this variation by setting the mutation rate to 0%.

Student Learning Goals

  • Students will be able to explain how non-adaptive evolutionary change can occur.
  • Students will be able to explain the relationship between population size, population diversity, and genetic drift.
  • Students will be able to graph and explain how population size and genetic drift influence the frequency of traits or alleles over evolutionary time.


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