Crow, James F. Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:March 2020
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A basic mathematical relation used in population genetics. The Hardy-Weinberg formula (also referred to as a principle or law) states that the frequencies of both genes and genotypes will remain constant from generation to generation in an idealized population where mating is random and evolutionary forces (for example, mutation, migration, selection, or genetic drift) are absent. The formula gives the numerical proportion of the various genotypes in a randomly mating population in terms of the frequencies of the genes (Fig. 1). It is especially useful for genetic analysis of populations, such as human populations or plants and animals in nature where experimental matings are not possible. It was discovered independently in 1908 by Godfrey Harold Hardy, a British mathematician, and Wilhelm Weinberg, a German physician, who made a number of important contributions to the methodology of human genetics. See also: Gene; Genetics; Human genetics; Population genetics
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