Main content

## Biology library

### Course: Biology library > Unit 25

Lesson 2: Population genetics- Allele frequency
- Hardy-Weinberg equation
- Applying the Hardy-Weinberg equation
- Discussions of conditions for Hardy-Weinberg
- Allele frequency & the gene pool
- Mechanisms of evolution
- Hardy-Weinberg
- Genetic drift, bottleneck effect, and founder effect
- Genetic drift
- Natural selection in populations
- Selection and genetic drift

© 2023 Khan AcademyTerms of usePrivacy PolicyCookie Notice

# Hardy-Weinberg equation

AP.BIO:

EVO‑1 (EU)

, EVO‑1.K (LO)

, EVO‑1.K.1 (EK)

, EVO‑1.K.2 (EK)

The Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is a principle that helps to predict allele frequencies in a population. It assumes no selection, no mutation, no geneflow, random mating, and large populations for stable allele frequencies. The equation p² + 2pq + q² = 1 calculates probabilities of homozygous dominant, heterozygous, and homozygous recessive genotypes. Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

- why do you need to square the equation? (p + q = 1)(16 votes)
- It is p2+ 2pq+q2 because you are talking about the frequency of alleles and we are diploids i.e. we have 2 alleles for each trait, one allele we receive from our father and another from our mother. Thus,

p2= dominant allele i.e when we have both 'p' from parents

q2= recessive allele i.e when we have bothe 'q' from parents

and 2pq= heterozygote i.e. when we have say'p' from one parent and 'q' from another parent.

Thus in order to understand the equation p+q=1 in terms of diploid organisms we need to square the contents.(29 votes)

- Plus, shouldn't it be equilibrium. The powers balance the alleles...I do understand it IS an equation. Its just nomenclature right?(7 votes)
- The Hardy Weinberg equation describes a hypothetical "ideal" population in perfect equilibrium. It can't truly exist in nature, simply because there's always some force acting on a population. It's used as a reference point.(29 votes)

- Why can't you use the Hardy-Weinberg Principle for a small population?(9 votes)
- Its due to random sampling's effect w/ small population sizes. Imagine the percentages of resulting "heads" on coin flips between 2 people flipping coins vs 2000 people.(11 votes)

- If you choose your population wisely, and the observed genotype frequencies do not match the expected, what must be the case (according to H-W)?(8 votes)
- If a population's frequencies do not match those expected from hardy-weinberg, then the population is not in Hardy-Weinberg. Perhaps there is natural selection or non-random mating.

The Hardy-Weinberg population is a scientific ideal, though, it doesn't actually exist. Almost every single population on earth will differe from H-W expectied values.(8 votes)

- Where did he get the 'q' from?(5 votes)
- P and Q are just letters that are used to show a specific allele but in a generic form. They are used to denote the 2 different alleles used in the problem.(7 votes)

- In the example given in the video, I am not sure why p^2 represents the probability of an individual being homozygous dominant because it looks like from the example, the two genotypes in question are Bb or bb. so BB would't even be possible would it? if the probability of getting just the B allele is 1/4, then p^2 should equal 1/16 or the probability of a homozygous dominant individual... but again is a BB individual even possible in the example of the two individuals given.

Hope my question was clear! thanks in advance!(6 votes)- The example numerically is not related to the equation as the Hardy Weinberg Equation requires that a population be large and in the previous example, the population is very small, so the requirements for the Hardy Weinberg Principle are not met. Sal is simply using the alleles from the previous example to demonstrate the Hardy Weinberg Equation, but not the numbers. If it helps, just think of BB, Bb, and bb, and ignore everything else. But if the population did met the Hardy Weinberg Equation theoretically, the 3 Genotypes possible would be Bb, BB , and bb.(5 votes)

- what does mean for the equation

given by hardy-wein berg(4 votes)- It is a conceptual idea of population equilibrium that was developed by 2 scientists G.H. Hardy and William Weinberg, who suggested some assumptions for stable, non evolving population in which "allele frequencies do not change and therefore evolution does not occur". theses assumptions are :

1. No mutation

2.No small population

3.No sexual selection

4. No gene flow

5. No natural selection

In order to express Hardy Weinberg principle mathematically , suppose "p" represents the frequency of the dominant allele in gene pool and "q" represents the frequency of recessive allele. p+q=1 since the sum of both frequencies is 100% . In gene pool that include allele p and q the possible genotypes are

.................. Females

.................. (p) (q)

Males (p) 25% (pp) 25%(pq)

..... (q) 25%(qp) 25%(qq)

The total of all genotypes should be equal to 1 so

p^2+2pq+q^2=1

where

p^2=freq. of the HOMOZYGOUS DOMINANT GENOTYPE

2pq=freq. of HETEROZYGOUS GENOTYPE

q^2=freq. of the HOMOZYGOUS RECESSIVE GENOTYPE

p^2+2pq= freq. of the DOMINANT PHENOTYPE

q^2=freq. of the RECESSIVE PHENOTYPE(5 votes)

- In a Hardy Weinberg question, if they give you the # of Homozygous dominant, # of heterozygous and the # of homozygous recessive. You can calculate the p and q by using the total number of alleles of p or q divided by the total number of alleles in the population or finding q^2 to find q. however in certain questions you do not get the same p and q when you you do it both ways. Which is the best way to solve for p and q if they give u all of the individuals and their genotype? Also why does q from q^2 not equal to q when you solve for q using total number of alleles? For ex) 210 homo dom, 245 hetero and 45 homo rec. q from q^2 is 0.3. however (245 + 90)/1000= 0.67. could you explain the difference? please.(4 votes)
- I suggest reading over the assumptions behind the Hardy-Weinberg equation — do those have to be true?

If the two ways of calculating don't give the same answer, what can you conclude?

Do you think it could be evidence for something? If so, what?

Do these hints help?(4 votes)

- At 0.37, what is a heterozygote?(2 votes)
- A heterozygote is someone who has two different alleles at a locus, so "Bb" in this example. It's covered more thoroughly in some of the earlier videos.(5 votes)

- How do you know if you are a heterozygote or a homozygous?(3 votes)
- Yeah! In my mind is appeared a funny and strange example. To have all genes homozygous is necessary that homozygous twins have a son/dauther but homozygous twins are both female or both male so it is really impossible that a human being to have all genes homozygous. Concerning the opposite case (genes all hetero) I'm not so sure.

What do you think about it?(0 votes)

## Video transcript

Voiceover: Now that we're
familiar with the idea of allele frequency, let's build on that to develop the Hardy,
do this in a new color, and actually, let me
do it right over here, the Hardy Weinberg
principle, which is a really useful principle for thinking through what allele frequencies might
be, or what probability you would have if you found someone, what percentage of the population might be homozygous recessive,
or homozygous dominant, or might be a heterozygote. And it really builds on the work we've already seen with
allele frequencies. Now before we go into
that, we're gonna make some assumptions, and these
are all just assumptions that get us a stable allele
frequency in the population from generation to generation. We're going to assume
that there's no selection, no natural selection is, or
even unnatural selection, is going on that would change
the allele frequencies. So it's not like people with
one of the alleles or another are going to be more or less likely to reproduce and have viable offspring. We're also going to assume no mutation, so we're going to assume that
one of these alleles can't, isn't from generation to
generation turning into another one, or turning
into maybe a different, a new type of trait,
whether it's green eyes, or whatever else it might be. And we're also going to
assume large populations. So that would definitely
throw out the example that we looked at in the last
video, which I did just to understand the notion of allele
frequencies, where we said, hey, look, one out of
the four of the genes in this population, or
one-fourth of the alleles in this population,
are the dominant brown, while three-fourths, or 75
percent, were the recessive blue. We're gonna assume large
populations, so many, many, many, and so that's so that if you
have very small populations, you can imagine that, depending
on how these reproduce, it's very easy to get to
changes in frequencies, but at larger populations, that
helps us make the assumption that we have stable allele frequencies. So once again, this is also that we have stable allele frequencies. Now based on that,
we've already seen if we take the frequency of the dominant trait, which we can denote with
p, and to that we add the frequency of the recessive trait, of the recessive, I
should say, allele, let me be very careful here, the frequency of the dominant allele, and to
that we add the frequency of the recessive allele,
what's that going to be? Well, you see in this case,
it adds up to 100 percent, or one, and it's always going to
add up to 100 percent, or one. Because we're assuming that there's only one of two alleles in the population, so you have 100 percent chance
of getting one of these two, that whatever percentage is going to be, whatever the frequency here is, 100 percent minus that is
going to be whatever q is. So these two things are going to be equal to 100 percent, or equal to one. And now we can start to do a little bit of interesting mathematics. It'll allow us to start thinking about things like homozygotes and heterozygotes, and so to do that,
let's square both sides. So let's square both sides of this, a little bit of algebra in biology class. And so when you square the left-hand side, this is just squaring a
binomial, you might want to review it if this looks like
Latin to you, there's many algebra videos on Khan
academy that go into this, this is going to be p
squared, plus two times pq, plus q squared, and of course one squared is still going to be equal to one. Now what are each of these terms here? What are each of these terms? Well, let's just think about something. p squared is the same thing as p times p. Well, p is the frequency
of your dominant allele. So this is the frequency
of your dominant allele, the percentage of the
allele population, I guess you could say, the allele
frequency, that is dominant, and you're multiplying
that times it again. Well, another way to
think about p, is this is the probability, if you
were randomly to pick one of these four genes,
and here I'm using my over-simplified population, of course, the truths that we're about
to surface to be true, you're going to have to
assume a large population, but in this one right over
here, one way to view p is what's the probability if I
were to pick a gene at random, what's the probability
that it is the variant, or it is the dominant allele,
what is the probability that it represents the brown variant? So that's one way to view
p, so, the probability of getting a, let's
just write it that way, a capital B, a dominant brown allele. So what's p times p? That's the probability of
getting two dominant alleles. Or another way of thinking about
it, this is the probability for someone in the population
to be homozygous dominant, so it's the probability of someone being capital B and capital B. And so by the same
logic, what is q squared? Well, q squared, that's just q times q, q is the probability of
getting one recessive allele, so this is the probability of
getting two recessive alleles. One from your mother,
and one from your father, so this is the probability of, if you were kind of randomly
born into this population, of getting two recessive alleles. Now what is this middle
term, right over here? Well, p times q, so pq, so
one way to think about it, if you said, what's the
probability that from your mother, you get, randomly, you
know nothing about them, or if you pick a random
mother and a random father, what's the probability, I
have to be careful here, so if you're just
randomly getting alleles, what's the probability
that from on one side you're gonna get the dominant, and from the second side you're
gonna get the recessive? So that would be pq,
that would be p times q, so that's getting it from,
say, from one parent, and then that's from the second parent, but what about the other way around? From the first parent,
you have a q probability of getting the recessive one,
and from the second parent, you have a p probability of
getting the dominant one. So there's two ways of
becoming a heterozygote. And so if you add these two
probabilities, what do you get? These are both pq, I'm just changing the order of multiplication. You sum these two, you get two pq. So this is the probability
of being a heterozygote. So this is a pretty neat result. Just by making a few assumptions, and reasoning through this
notion of allele frequency, we're able to come up with this expression that actually is fairly
powerful in thinking about allele frequency in
a population, and actually, the different genotype
frequencies in a population. You see it all makes sense,
these all add up to one. The probability of someone
being homozygous dominant, plus the probability of
someone being a heterozygote, plus the probability of someone being a homozygous recessive, they're
gonna add up to 100 percent, because someone's going to have to be one of these three things. Now I'm gonna leave you
there in this video, and the next video,
we're actually gonna use this Hardy Weinberg equation
to actually come up with some very interesting
results about a population.