September 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 15)
Strong Points: Educational information, interactive simulations
Weak Points: Some glitches (DNA synthesis game unplayable)
The Evolutionary Biology app was created by undergraduate students at Brigham Young University to teach basic concepts in evolutionary biology in an interactive way. The app is composed of two main sections: instructional content (covering the topics of evolution, DNA, genetic drift, and natural selection) and games/simulations. The content portion of the app is fairly superficial in its depth of coverage (but then again, the intention is to convey basic concepts). The games and simulations section has four activities: two simulations of genetic drift, a DNA synthesis game in which players try to match complementary bases, and a natural selection game in which players observe the effects of changing phenotypic frequency over time. The app contains some useful information and engaging games, although it’s not without its flaws. The DNA synthesis game, for example, is practically unplayable because a glitch prevents players from being able to select the same base twice in a row (even if that’s what’s demanded by the DNA sequence).