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Evo in the news: Evolving altitude aptitude


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This news brief from October 2010 examines new research that makes it clear that Tibetan highlanders have not just acclimated to their mountain home; evolutionary adaptations have equipped them with unique physiological mechanisms for dealing with low oxygen levels.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

10 minutes

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of gene expression or gas exchange in animals (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). This article includes a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class. It also includes hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.

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

  • Evolution is still continuing today.

  • Evolutionary change can sometimes happen rapidly.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Natural selection can act on the variation in a population in different ways.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

Teacher background:

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