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In lecture two of a four part series, evolutionary biologist David Kingsley discusses how just a few small genetic changes can have a big effect on morphology, using examples from maize, dog breeding, and stickleback fish.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
This lecture may be most useful for advanced high school biology courses. Clips of the lecture (now available as an indexed video with synchronized slides) might provide students with an experience similar to that of a first year college student. An interesting and useful exercise would be to have students watch the lecture (or part of it), take notes, and then process with classmates what the experience was like (both in terms of the content they learned and the way in which the lecture format challenged them to listen, absorb, and take notes).
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks. (LS4.A)
- Artificial selection provides a model for natural selection.
- People selectively breed domesticated plants and animals to produce offspring with preferred characteristics.
- Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)
- Complex structures may be produced incrementally by the accumulation of smaller useful mutations.
- Speciation is the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendent lineages.
- Occupying new environments can provide new selection pressures and new opportunities, leading to speciation. (LS4.C)
- Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)
- Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.
- Scientists use artificial selection as a model to learn about natural selection. (P2)
- As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life.