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The BioBayes module leads the user through several different methodologies for applying Bayesian probabilities to real life examples and problems. First, a 2-generation pedigree is examined using the classical, or “Platonist” approach of a Punnet square, and then the same pedigree is analyzed using Bayesian probabilities. Students are introduced to the fundamental equation underlying Bayesian probabilities and then asked to apply it to the pedigree. Second, the student uses 2-way tables to calculate various conditional probabilities associated with HIV screening. Finally, using decision trees the student will calculate the likelihood of having a child with cystic fibrosis if the status of the mother as a carrier is unknown.


John R. Jungck, Beloit College
Jennifer Galovich, College of Saint Benedict Saint John's University
Joe Reistetter, Beloit College

Published by: BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium

OS: win98:win2000:winXP:os9:osx:linux

User Manuals and Curricular Materials
Popular Text Citations

Carlin B P (2000) Bayes and Empirical Bayes Methods for Data Analysis, Second Edition. New York: Chapman and Hall.

Lee P M (2001) Bayesian Statistics: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

Research Articles

JS Shoemaker JS, Painter IS, Weir BS 1999 Bayesian statistics in genetics. Trends in Genetics 15: 354-358.

Lange N, Carlin BP, Gelfand AE 1992 Hierarchical Bayes models for the progression of HIV infection using longitudinal CD4 T-cell numbers. Journal of the American Statistical Association 87: 615-626

Wade, P R 2000 Bayesian methods in conservation biology. Conservation Biology 14: 1308-1316.

Education Research & Pedagogical Materials

Stansfield WD, Carlton MA 2004 Bayesian statistics for biological data: pedigree analysis. The American Biology Teacher 66: 177-182

Tutorial & Background materials

2-way tables


Jungck John R., Galovich Jennifer , Reistetter Joe () BioBayes. A module of the Biological ESTEEM Collection, published by the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium. URL: