Applied Evolution
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Applied Evolution Why Evolution Matters. Simon Howden. Belize Evolution Education Workshops, Nov. 2012. Evolution – A Definition (or three). Variation of inherited traits within a population over time as a consequence of mutation, genetic recombination, or gene flow

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Applied Evolution

Why Evolution Matters

Simon Howden

Belize Evolution Education Workshops, Nov. 2012


Evolution – A Definition (or three)

  • Variation of inherited traits within a population over time as a consequence of mutation, genetic recombination, or gene flow

  • Descent with modification

  • Change over time


Evolution helps explain…

  • The diversity of life on Earth

  • How new species are formed

  • Why organisms look and behave the way they do

  • How organisms respond to changes in their environment

  • Why some groups of organisms are more diverse than others


Forces That Drive Evolution

  • Mutation – Random changes in DNA sequence

  • Natural selection

  • Genetic Drift – Change in gene pool due to chance

  • Gene Flow – Change in allele frequency due to migration


How does all this affect me?Why does evolution matter?How is it relevant to me and my life?


Applied Evolution

Using an understanding of the principles of evolution to solve real-life problems and challenges, make improvements to the world around us, or improve our everyday lives.


Applied Evolution

Agriculture

Technology

Conservation

Forensics

Medicine

Simon Howden


Applied Evolution – Medicine and Health

  • Combating infectious diseases

  • Developing new vaccines

  • Understanding and overcoming antibiotic resistance

  • Developing new drugs and medicines


Applied Evolution – Medicine and Health

“When Milk Makes You Sick”

http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/tp.milk3.html

  • Case study examining lactose intolerance

  • Addresses evolution/natural selection, genetics/inheritance, biochemistry, medicine, nutrition, agriculture, anthropology


Applied Evolution – Conservation Biology

  • Understanding extinction patterns

  • Predicting future extinctions and extinction risks

  • Developing strategies to protect endangered species


Applied Evolution – Conservation Biology

“Mystery Meat”

www.paleobio.org/MysteryMeat/MysteryMeat-Teacher.pdf

  • Case study examining illegal whaling activity

  • Involves evolution/phylogenetic trees, DNA sequencing/barcoding, conservation biology, forensics

Kujira in a Japanese market


Applied Evolution – Conservation Biology

“Mystery Meat”

www.paleobio.org/MysteryMeat/MysteryMeat-Unknowns.html


Applied Evolution – Conservation Biology

“Mystery Meat”

www.paleobio.org/MysteryMeat/MysteryMeat-Unknowns.html


Applied Evolution – Conservation Biology

“Mystery Meat”

www.paleobio.org/MysteryMeat/MysteryMeat-Unknowns.html


Applied Evolution – Forensic Science

  • Analyzing and characterizing evidence

  • Using phylogenetic approaches to establish guilt or innocence

Simon Howden


Applied Evolution - Agriculture

  • Improving strategies for crop rotation

  • Refining selective breeding processes

  • Developing new pesticides


Applied Evolution – Computers and Technology

  • Developing new programs and systems

  • Software engineering

  • “Competitive software”, evolutionary genetic algorithms (software that is improved via small, sequential mutations

Simon Howden


Questions?


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