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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Lesson summary for:
Evo in the news: Toxic river means rapid evolution for one fish species

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Overview:
This news brief from March 2011 examines the genetic basis for the evolution of resistance to PCBs in the Hudson River tomcod. Though this is great for the tomcod, what might it mean for other organisms in the ecosystem?

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
10 minutes

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of mutation, gene expression, or conservation (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). This resource includes a diagram that helps explain the relationship between mutation and gene expression. This article encourages students to reason about scientific data. It includes a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class, as well as advanced discussion questions for undergraduates. It also includes hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Rates of speciation vary.

  • Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • Evolution results from mutations.

  • New heritable traits can result from mutations.

  • Mutation is a random process.

  • Organisms cannot intentionally produce adaptive mutations in response to environmental influences.

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organismís survival and reproduction.

  • Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing.

  • Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations.

  • Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.

  • Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.

Teacher background:

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