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Interview: Nicole King on the origins of multicellularity


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Biologist and UC Berkeley Professor Nicole King explains how she investigates a major transition in evolutionary history: the evolution of multicellular life forms from unicellular ones.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.


Grade level:

15 minutes

Teaching tips:
The concepts in this interview can be further emphasized through class discussion. However, since the content here is fairly advanced, this might be most appropriate for AP students who have already learned about the origins of life.

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

  • Through billions of years of evolution, life forms have continued to diversify in a branching pattern, from single-celled ancestors to the diversity of life on Earth today.

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)

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

  • Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)

  • Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.

  • Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

Teacher background:

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