The Relevance of Evolution: Introduction

Solving biological problems
Biological systems evolve, which means that variables always change and history always matters. That’s part of the definition of evolution: change over time through descent with modification. If we don’t take evolution into account, our solutions to biological problems are likely to fail.

In this section, we will explore case studies that show how understanding evolution can become critical when we have a biological problem to solve.

Understanding evolution helps solve biological problems that impact our lives—for example, vaccinations for disease prevention and methods to combat insect pests for crop management.

Getting a flu shot
Understanding how diseases evolve helps us administer vaccines most effectively.
Field of corn
Understanding the evolution of insects helps us devise more effective methods of pest control.

Teach this!
Lesson plans for teaching about the relevance of evolution

• Image of corn field courtesy of USDA, photo by Tim McCabe.
• Image of flu shot courtesy of Synapse Online (UCSF).
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This site was created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology with support provided by the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
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