In this lab, you will use M&M’s™ to simulate natural selection in a population. You will need a pound-bag of M&M’s™ (not one of the smaller individual bags). You can use a different type of small candy, like Skittles™, as long as there is a letter printed on one side like the M&M’s™ “m” or the “S” on Skittles™.
- You are dealing with a population of 100. Count out 100 candies and put them in a cup or glass.
- Give them a shake, and pour them randomly across a surface.
- Remove the candies that are showing the “m”. Those candies are “unfit.” Count how many there are. Fill in the correct number on the attached table.
- Put the “unfit” candies in your cup, shake them up again, and scatter them into the population. Consider these to be new individuals that have been born to the candies that remained.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4. Repeat them as many times as needed until your whole population is not showing any “m’s”. Remember to fill in the chart appropriately (5 points).
- Make a line graph with the x-axis (horizontal) showing the number of generations (this would be the number of times you shook the cup and scattered out candies), and the y-axis (vertical) showing the number of “unfit” individuals remaining at each generation. The line on this graph will go down to zero in the final generation if done correctly. You can see an example below. (10 points)
7. Answer the following questions.
a) How many generations did it take to eliminate the “unfit” individuals from the population? Do you consider this fast evolution or slow evolution? (5 points)
b) Looking at your current population of 100 fit individuals, remember that some will die and have offspring. Is it possible for your “unfit” gene to ever show up again in your population? (10 points)
c) Imagine why your “unfit” individuals might have been eliminated. Make up a reason why their markings showed they were unfit and unable to reproduce. (10 points)