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Lesson summary for:
Predicting evolutionary relationships

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Overview:
Students compare the sequence of amino acids in a gene shared between humans and six other organisms and infer evolutionary relationships among the species.

Author/Source:
NOVA

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
1 hour

Teaching tips:
The video and worksheet are each worthwhile but could easily be used separately.

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. (LS4.A, LS4.D)

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

  • Similarities among existing organisms provide evidence for evolution. (LS4.A)

  • All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks. (LS4.A)

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

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

Teacher background:

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