Common mistakes

Module 8 - Common mistakes

These will be updated as the year goes on.

It will be useful to check through this list after completing the module (as well as before SACs and your final exam) to ensure you’re not making these mistakes yourself.

Mistake 1 - gene flow vs genetic drift

Students often confuse these two terms as they sound very similar. 

Gene flow = the movement of alleles into/out of a population (migration)
Genetic drift = the change of allelic frequency due to chance events 

Mistake 2 - selection pressures "cause" mutations

Remember that variation exists naturally in a population due to mutations. 
Selection pressures do not cause mutations to occur. Instead they increase the frequency of certain traits, that arose due to mutations. 

Mistake 3 - "the giraffes "become" tall necked" - natural selection

Remember, when acted upon by a selection pressure, the organism doesn’t suddenly change in phenotype. 

Avoid saying that the giraffe becomes tall necked when acted upon by a selection pressure. 
Instead, the frequency of the tall necked giraffes increase. 

Mistake 4 - forgetting key words for natural selecetion

Try to follow the template provided when answering natural selection questions. 
Students often forget to use key words such as “variation”, “allelic frequency change” etc. This is an easy way to lose marks on short answer questions. 

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