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Using trees to uproot HIV: The work of Satish Pillai

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Overview:
This research profile follows scientist Satish Pillai as he studies the evolution of HIV within infected individuals. His research uses the tools of phylogenetics to investigate vaccine development and the possibility of curing the disease.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
30 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.

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)

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

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)

  • Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)

  • Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)

Teacher background:

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