Population Genetics Software

Christopher T. Cole colect at mrs.umn.edu
Fri Aug 31 08:53:55 EST 2001

Dr. Meatyard--

I have used & reviewed several pop. gen. software packages for my courses
in Conservation Genetics, and by far the best is the Populus package.  We
use it here run from a Windows desktop, though the program itself does not
require Windows.  The older version does not run on Apples, to the best of
my knowledge, but the new version is supposed to.  The principle author,
Don Alstad, has been at work with programmers to develop a Java-based
version.  There also are workbooks for the Population Ecology and
Population Genetics portions of the package, available from Prentice-Hall;
I have seen the former, and the latter should be out by now.  

The final DOS/Windows version is version 3.42, and available from
http://ecology.umn.edu/populus, along with instructions.  The Java version
is available from the same site.

The graphical views of models are enormously important for conveying the
ideas represented by the mathematical models of population genetics.  They
open windows of understanding that would remain shut completely, otherwise.

Hope that helps.

--Chris Cole

At 12:02 PM 8/31/01 +0100, Barry Meatyard wrote:
>Dear Plant-Edders,
>Can anyone recommend a population genetics package suitable for undergrad
>teaching that will run on a Windows network?
>I've just discovered my old package (a DOS based program which was very
>good) won't run on our new network, and the software company responsible
>(below) is not planning an upgrade.
>I would like to be able to investigate the behaviour of alleles in
>populations, particularly with respect to:
>selection vs. no selection
>varying the size of populations to investigate different rates of drift
>quantifying gene frequency so that, for example, the Hardy Weinberg formula
>can be used.
>Ideally I'd like the programme to include sufficient graphical capacity to
>enable students to observe the effect of changes in gene frequency on the
>morphology of 'biomorphs'. (Don't students just love pictures?)
>Does anyone have any suggestions?
>For the record the programs I've used in the past are The Blind Watchmaker
>and Survival of the Fittest. BW is in essence the program of the Dawkin's
>book and is fun to use but nowhere near as instructive as S of the F.
>Unfortunately BW is being upgraded but not S of the F.
>They are available from SPA (Software Production Associates), PO Box 59,
>Tewkesbury, GL20 6AB, UK. Fax 44 (0) 1684 833718
>All suggestions gratefully received.
>Dr.Barry Meatyard
>Book Review Editor, Biological Conservation
>Environmental Sciences Research and Education Unit
>Warwick Institute of Education
>University of Warwick
>CV4 7AL
>Email: barry.meatyard at warwick.ac.uk
>Tel: 44 (0) 2476 524228
>Fax: 44 (0) 2476 523237
Christopher T. Cole
Associate Professor of Biology
University of Minnesota - Morris
Morris, MN
colect at mrs.umn.edu


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