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Lesson summary for:
Natural selection from the gene up: The work of Elizabeth Dahlhoff and Nathan Rank

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Overview:
Find out how we investigate evolutionary adaptations by following two scientists and their team as they figure out how the willow leaf beetle survives in different climates.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
30 minutes

Teaching tips:
This research profile comes with a student reading guide, as well as a set of discussion questions.

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

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

  • Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population.

  • Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.

  • Phenotype is a product of both genotype and the organismís interactions with the environment.

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction.

  • 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.

  • An individualís fitness (or relative fitness) is the contribution that individual makes to the gene pool of the next generation relative to other individuals in the population.

  • An organismís fitness depends on both its survival and its reproduction.

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence.

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.

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

  • Science is a human endeavor.

  • 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.

  • Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.

Teacher background:

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