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Lesson summary for:
DNA to Darwin: Darwin's 'abominable mystery' - the origin of flowering plants

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Overview:
Students build a phylogenetic tree from the chloroplast genome in order to learn about the origin of flowers and the characteristics of the first flowering plants.

Author/Source:
DNA to Darwin

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
2-3 hours

Teaching tips:
Be sure to test the free software used in this lab before attempting it with students. Some users have reported trouble, while others have had none. Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topic of plant reproduction (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus).

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

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time.

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.

  • Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

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

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations.

  • Scientists use multiple lines of evidence (including morphological, developmental, and molecular evidence) to infer the relatedness of taxa.

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.

  • Evolutionary trees can be used to make inferences and predictions.

Teacher background:

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