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Lesson summary for:
Viruses and Host Evolution

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Overview:
Students learn about natural selection in rabbits by observing the effects of a virus on the Australian rabbit population.

Author/Source:
Chamberlain, Don

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
Four class periods.

Teaching tips:
This activity assumes that students have received information about viral structure, the viral replication cycle, differences between RNA and DNA viruses, and some effects of viruses on living tissues.

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)

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • 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)

  • Speciation is the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendent lineages.

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

Teacher background:

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