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Webcast: From butterflies to humans


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In lecture four of a four part series, evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll uses the developmental genetics of insects to explain how old genes can learn new tricks and how this can help us understand human evolution.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Grade level:

60 minutes

Teaching tips:
This lecture may be most useful for advanced high school biology courses. Clips of the lecture (now available as an indexed video with synchronized slides) might provide students with an experience similar to that of a first year college student. An interesting and useful exercise would be to have students watch the lecture (or part of it), take notes, and then process with classmates what the experience was like (both in terms of the content they learned and the way in which the lecture format challenged them to listen, absorb, and take notes).

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

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks. (LS4.A)

  • Developmental similarities of living things often reflect their relatedness. (LS4.A)

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

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

  • Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.

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

Teacher background:

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