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Peer Review

Natural selection



Overall Numeric Rating:

3.33 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Aug 12, 2001 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: "Natural Selection" is a one of many population biology simulations provided by Kent Holsinger at This simulation is particularly useful for instructors and students who want to show how allele frequencies change over time in response to natural selection on diploid genotypes. Users may select from five different fitnesses (0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2) for each of the three genotypes for a single hypothetical gene locus. The number of generations is fixed at 100. Results from up to eight different iterations are displayed simultaneously in different colors. This site provides a simple and straightforward graphical representation that can be used in the classroom.
Type of Material: Simulation
Technical Requirements: HTML and Java Applet
Target Student Population: High School and all College Levels

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars

Quality of content: (3.0) (3.8) = 3.4

  • Clearly laid out

  • Interactive

  • Simple


  • Instructions are adequate, although there should be an explanation of which
    model the simulation supports

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars

Potential effectiveness as teaching tool: (5.0) (3.5) = 4.3

  • Demonstrates relationships of allele frequencies and selection

  • Different fitnesses allow comparison of simulations

  • Possible to make assignments for students


  • Faculty will need to provide background information in class

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars

Usability: (3.0) (4.5) = 3.8

  • Instructions are accurate

  • Controllable

  • Rapid response

  • No defective Links

  • No major bugs
  • Concerns: None

    Features of Excellence:

    • Allows rapid sequence of trials with changes in variables

    • Very simple and straightforward simulation for natural selection

    • Nice use of superimposed simulations for the eight possible plots


    • A link describing the model supported by the simulation and the calculations involved would provide students with better application of learning materials.

    • This is a very simple and fast site for showing variations in natural selection. It is a good place to start for students wanting a simple and straightforward presentation of the topic.

    • The graphics could be made a little more engaging with animations to accompany graphical representations such as colored dots or actual icons of organisms showing the selection progress.

    • It is recommended that the author sub mit the larger site on population biology simulations to for a more complete review of learning materials available on the internet.

    Technical Problems:

    • None encountered

    Overall rating: (3.7) (3.9) = 3.8

    Creative Commons:
    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States