School: ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY
Area of Science: Zoology
Abstract: We plan to simulate a breeding population and determine the minimum number of individuals necessary to maintain a healthy gene pool based on a given trait with 'x' number of alleles.
This program will be helpful in assisting with breeding programs in zoos hoping to breed and maintain small populations of animals. Inbreeding is detrimental to a species because it amplifies unhealthy characteristics that would normally be overshadowed by their dominant counterparts and in genetically identical organisms that differ only by gender, a myriad of disadvantages would be seen in the phenotype. This program will also be helpful in assessing the risk posed to small populations of endangered species in the wild, by providing information that will assist scientists in determining the minimum number of matings before offspring become unhealthily inbred. By applying the Hardy-Weinberg equation each generation, we will monitor the frequency of alleles to ensure that it remains constant (this will ensure the conditions of Hardy-Weinberg are met at all times during our simulation).
We will write the program to solve this problem in C++. We plan to write a class in which each object will represent a single organism. Each object will have properties such as gender, age, a unique identification number, and generation number. To keep track of generations of organisms we will use a tree and insert the proper ID number to correspond with matings and children produced.
We will experiment with the initial number of organisms of each gender necessary to ensure that no 'inbreeding' (defined initially as either filial mating or mating with first cousins) occurs.
Sponsoring Teacher: Jim Mims