The Hardy-Weinberg principle (HWP) is an application of the binomial expansion theorem that is foundational to the field of population genetics. Because of the important history of the HWP in answering how variation is preserved during evolution, and the ability of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) to detect natural and sexual selection acting on a trait, the HWP is a staple of the introductory biology undergraduate curriculum in the United States. Introductory courses often cover a wide range of topics in ecology and evolution, and it is important that students have enough time during the semester to grasp the foundations of population genetics. At the same time, information needs to be presented clearly to ensure that the student gains a correct understanding of the HWP. This article discusses the importance of the HWP to undergraduate education in biology and describes misconceptions from the instructor’s perspective. These misconceptions are pervasive and risk undermining a proper understanding of the HWP. We provide examples adapted from university- and AP-level standardized tests.
Considering Instructional Approach & Question Design with the Hardy-Weinberg Principle
ROBERT DRIVER (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a graduate student in the Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858. Funding provided by National Science Foundation awards RCN-1457541 and IOS-1456612.
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Robert J. Driver, Susan B. McRae; Considering Instructional Approach & Question Design with the Hardy-Weinberg Principle. The American Biology Teacher 1 March 2021; 83 (3): 191–194. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2021.83.3.191
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