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Table 2.
Misconceptions about natural selection that appear in concept inventories (CI) about genetic drift, dominance, and evo-devo. For extensive explanations of these misconceptions and student examples of them, see Andrews et al. (2012), Hiatt et al. (2013), and Abraham et al. (2014).
CIMisconceptions about Natural Selection That Appear When Students Discuss Other Evolutionary Processes
Genetic drift Genetic drift is natural selection/acclimation to the environment that results from a need to survive. 
 Genetic drift is not evolution because it does not lead to directional change that increases fitness. 
 Natural selection is always the most powerful mechanism of evolution, and it is the primary agent of evolutionary change. 
Dominance Dominant alleles always increase in frequency in a population. 
 Dominance is related to the selective advantage of an allele or allelic pair. 
 Heterozygotes always have a selective advantage over other genotypes. 
Evo-devo Natural selection is always the preferred explanation, even when students are prompted to invoke more appropriate evo-devo mechanisms. 
 Characteristics that are not used by the organism are lost because they are not used, not because of the loss of maintenance selection. 
 Evolution proceeds through the inheritance of acquired characteristics (not including potentially legitimate examples such as the genetic assimilation of induced phenotypes, the assimilation of learned behaviors, or inheritance of epigenetic modifications). 
 Evolutionary stasis occurs only when stabilizing or positive selection does not occur. 
 Lack of understanding of population-level processes. For example, attributing evolutionary adaptation, the population-level process, to an individual. 
CIMisconceptions about Natural Selection That Appear When Students Discuss Other Evolutionary Processes
Genetic drift Genetic drift is natural selection/acclimation to the environment that results from a need to survive. 
 Genetic drift is not evolution because it does not lead to directional change that increases fitness. 
 Natural selection is always the most powerful mechanism of evolution, and it is the primary agent of evolutionary change. 
Dominance Dominant alleles always increase in frequency in a population. 
 Dominance is related to the selective advantage of an allele or allelic pair. 
 Heterozygotes always have a selective advantage over other genotypes. 
Evo-devo Natural selection is always the preferred explanation, even when students are prompted to invoke more appropriate evo-devo mechanisms. 
 Characteristics that are not used by the organism are lost because they are not used, not because of the loss of maintenance selection. 
 Evolution proceeds through the inheritance of acquired characteristics (not including potentially legitimate examples such as the genetic assimilation of induced phenotypes, the assimilation of learned behaviors, or inheritance of epigenetic modifications). 
 Evolutionary stasis occurs only when stabilizing or positive selection does not occur. 
 Lack of understanding of population-level processes. For example, attributing evolutionary adaptation, the population-level process, to an individual. 
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