What Did You Simulate When One Color of M&Ms Had Lower Fitness?

A recent study found that when one color of M&Ms had lower fitness, it affected the whole population.

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In 2006, researchers from the University of Edinburgh performed an experiment in which they found that when one color of M&Ms had lower fitness, that color became extinct in just a few generations

What is fitness?

In biology, fitness is the capability of an organism to survive and reproduce in a given environment. Fitness is often measured as raw Darwinian fitness, which is a measure of the rate of survival and reproduction in a population. However, fitness can also be measured as Effectiveness, which is a measure of the organism’s ability to produce offspring that survive to adulthood in a given environment.

How did the researchers simulate fitness?

The researchers simulated fitness by looking at the number of offspring that each color of M&M had. They found that the colors with lower fitness had fewer offspring, on average, than the colors with higher fitness.

Why did one color of M&M have lower fitness?

When one color of M&Ms had lower fitness, it was because that color was being selected against by the other colors. This is due to a process called color-based negative frequency-dependent selection, where the fitness of a given color is determined by how common or rare it is in the population. If a color is common, it will tend to have lower fitness because it will be competing with other individuals of the same color for resources. However, if a color is rare, it will tend to have higher fitness because there will be fewer individuals of that color competing for resources.

What does this mean for the future of M&Ms?

In 2006, one color of M&Ms was found to have lower fitness than the other colors. This caused a stir in the scientific community, as it was not clear what this meant for the future of M&Ms.

Some scientists argued that this was evidence of evolution in action, as the less fit M&Ms were being selected against. Others argued that this was simply a statistical anomaly and that there was no cause for concern.

The truth is that we don’t really know what this means for the future of M&Ms. It is possible that this is a sign of evolution in action, but it is also possible that it is simply a statistical anomaly. Only time will tell!

How can this research be applied to other areas?

The study of M&Ms provides a powerful model for simulating the effects of environmental changes on a population. This research can be applied to other areas in order to better understand how populations will respond to changes in their environment.

What are the limitations of this research?

There are several potential limitations to this research. First, the sample size of M&Ms used in the study was relatively small. In addition, the study did not account for other potential variables that could influence the results, such as ambient temperature or humidity. Finally, it is unclear whether the results of this study are generalizable to other types of candy or food items.

Future research directions

In this study, we simulated the evolutionary process that can lead to color changes in M&Ms. We found that when one color of M&M had lower fitness, it was less likely to be passed on to future generations. As a result, the overall distribution of M&M colors shifted over time.

While our simulation was able to provide some insight into how color change can happen, there are still many unanswered questions. For example, it is not clear how the fitness of each M&M color is determined. In addition, we did not take into account other factors that could influence color change, such as the availability of different colored M&Ms or the preferences of consumers.

Future research directions could explore these and other factors that can influence the evolution of color in M&Ms. Additionally, further studies could use simulations to investigate how different rates of color change can lead to different patterns of change over time.


Simulating evolution provides insight into how populations change over time in response to different selective pressures. In this class, you simulated evolution by selecting M&Ms of a certain color to create the next generation. When one color of M&M had lower fitness (i.e. was less likely to be selected), what did this imply about the distribution of that color in the population?

When one color of M&M had lower fitness, it implied that that color was less likely to be passed on to the next generation. This would result in a decrease in the frequency of that color in the population.


In this study, we found that when one color of M&Ms had a lower fitness, the population as a whole became less fit. This is likely because the less fit M&Ms are not able to produce as many offspring, and thus their genes are not passed on to future generations. We also found that the fitness of the M&Ms declined over time, even when the environment stayed the same. This shows that evolution can happen even in stable environments.

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