Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution
Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Lesson summary for:
Mouse fur color

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Overview:
This case study in the form of a set of PowerPoint slides examines the evolution of light fur in beach mice from the molecular level up to the population genetics level.

Author/Source:
Evo-Ed

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
one to two class periods

Teaching tips:
This series of slides provides direct links to studies and data sets and integrates active learning strategies such as clicker questions, minute papers, and think/pair/share. Students could review the website or ppt slides before class and clicker questions/application questions could be source of class discussion.

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

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

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

  • Phenotype is a product of both genotype and the organism’s interactions with the environment.

  • Variation of a character within a population may be discrete or continuous.

  • Continuous characters are generally influenced by many different genes.

  • New heritable traits can result from mutations.

  • Mutation is a random process.

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

  • Complex structures may be produced incrementally by the accumulation of smaller advantageous mutations.

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's 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.

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.

  • The number of offspring that survive to reproduce successfully is limited by environmental factors.

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

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