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Lesson summary for:
The genes that lie beneath: The work of Leslea Hlusko

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Overview:
Evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko's research takes her from the deserts of Ethiopia, where she hunts for hominid and primate fossils, to a baboon colony in San Antonio where she takes thousands of measurements of the primates' imposing canines. This research profile describes how the two projects are linked by a hunt for genetic variation, a key component of natural selection.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
40 minutes

Teaching tips:
This research profile includes discussion and essay questions that can be assigned to students. Get tips for using research profiles 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.

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.

  • There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit.

  • The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.

  • There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.

  • Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.

  • The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.

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

  • Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population.

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

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Science is a human endeavor.

  • Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.

Teacher background:

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