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Some vaccines provide lifelong protection with one or a few doses, but the flu requires a new shot every year. And in some years, the flu shot is hardly effective at all. Why is the flu vaccine different from so many other vaccines? This news brief from February 2013 provides the evolutionary explanation.
UC Museum of Paleontology
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of viruses or the immune system (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.
- Rates of evolution vary.
- Evolutionary change can sometimes happen rapidly.
- Some lineages remain relatively unchanged for long periods of time.
- 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.
- 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.