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Lesson summary for:
Evo in the news: Genetic variation helps rescue endangered panthers

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Overview:
In the 1990s, scientists predicted that the Florida panther would be extinct within 20 years and, in 1995, formulated a bold plan to save them. This news brief of December 2010 reports on the success of that plan which gave the panther a second lease on life by the infusion of genetic variation.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
10 minutes

Teaching tips:
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 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.

  • Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)

  • The amount of genetic variation within a population may affect the likelihood of survival of the population; the less the available diversity, the less likely the population will be able to survive environmental change.

  • Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.

  • 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. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life.

  • There is variation within a population. (LS3.B)

  • Fitness is reproductive success - the number of viable offspring produced by an individual in comparison to other individuals in a population/species.

Teacher background:

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