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Molecular evolution—including the neutral theory of molecular evolution—is a major sub-discipline of evolution and is widely taught in undergraduate evolution courses. However, despite its ubiquity, there have not been any previous attempts to compile and review the molecular evolution education literature. Here, we draw upon the framework proposed in a past literature review examining the broader evolution education landscape to conduct a literature review of papers related to molecular evolution education, classifying the contributions of such papers to evolution pedagogy as well as evolution education research. We find that there remains very limited coverage of molecular evolution in the education literature, with existing papers focusing primarily on providing new instructional modules and strategies for teaching molecular evolution. Our work suggests several areas of critical need as well as opportunities to advance evolution education and evolution education research, including compiling instructional goals for the sub-discipline, developing validated assessments, and investigating student thinking related to molecular evolution. We conclude by providing general strategies, advice, and a novel curricular activity for teaching molecular evolution and the neutral theory of molecular evolution.


This article was originally published in Ecology and Evolution, volume 13, in 2023.

ece310365-sup-0001-tables1.xlsx (16 kB)
Table S1.

ece310365-sup-0002-supinfo.docx (130 kB)
Appendix S1.


The authors

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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