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Evo in the news: Genealogy enthusiasts mine DNA for clues to evolutionary history


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This news brief, from November 2007, turns an evolutionary lens on businesses that use DNA for genealogy research and, in the process, illuminates what their genetic tests really track.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

15 minutes

Teaching tips:
This resource deals with mitochondrial DNA and can be used to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of biotechnology, as well as the chromosomal basis of inheritance, linkage, and recombination (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). This article is particularly appropriate for AP biology classes and 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. Because of its emphasis on cellular organelles, this article could be used to incorporate an evolutionary perspective into discussions of animal cells. 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.

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

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

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.

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