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Biology alliance: Teaching Evolution from the Molecular Perspective. February 13, 2008. Biology Alliance: Mission.

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biology alliance mission
Biology Alliance: Mission

To meet the needs of local educators regarding K-12 biology education by providing professional development activities, opportunities to exchange ideas, and appropriate resources for elementary, middle, and high school. We seek to encourage learning in the life sciences that is inquiry-based, applicable to real-world happenings, and consistent with the Kentucky Core Content.

biology alliance resources
Biology Alliance: Resources
  • Website:
  • Equipment
    • Microscopes
    • Possibility can acquire additional items
ENV 578 Environmental Issues for EducatorsSpring/Summer IntersessionMay 12th-31st 2008; M-R 4:30-9:10 p.m.*
  • Counts toward environmental education endorsement for teachers
  • Counts as a science content area specialization course
  • Course includes content coverage
  • Students finish the course with their own lesson plans based on course content
  • In-class lab time and field trips for practical application of knowledge

*Not all classes will go until 9:10 p.m.

biology alliance resources5
Biology Alliance: Resources
  • NKU Biological Sciences Dept
  • Evolution Day – Dr. Richard Durtsche
  • ThinkFirst Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention – Dr. Kristi Martines
  • 6th Grade
    • SC-06-3.5.1Students will explain that biological change over time accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations.
    • Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment.
  • 8th Grade
    • SC-08-3.5.1Students will draw conclusions and make inferences about the consequences of change over time that can account for the similarities among diverse species.
  • High School
  • SC-HS-3.5.1
  • Students will:
    • predict the impact on species of changes to (1) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the resources required for life, or (4) natural selection; propose solutions to real-world problems of endangered and extinct species.

Species change over time. Biological change over time is the consequence of the interactions of (1) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the resources required for life and (4) natural selection. The consequences of change over time provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record of ancient life forms and for the striking molecular similarities observed among the diverse species of living organisms.


Changes in DNA (mutations) occur spontaneously at low rates. Some of these changes make no difference to the organism, whereas others can change cells and organisms. Only mutations in germ cells have the potential to create the variation that changes an organism’s future offspring.

  • Change over time
  • Biological evolution = change in allele frequencies in a population over time
    • Microevolution
    • Macroevolution - evolutionary change at the species level or higher; formation of new species, new genera, etc.
jean baptiste de lamarck
Jean Baptiste de Lamarck
  • 1744-1829
  • Set the stage for Darwin:
    • strongly advocated evolution
    • proposed species evolve as a result of interactions with their environment
jean baptiste de lamarck12
Jean Baptiste de Lamarck
  • 1809 proposed inheritance of “acquired” characteristics
  • Traits used during life show up as enhanced in the next generation
  • traits that are not used gradually disappear

Interesting hypothesis but not quite right, why?

genotype to phenotype
Genotype to Phenotype
  • Gene – provide instructions on how to make protein molecules
    • Proteins are what makeup our various traits
what about lipids carbohydrates
What about lipids, carbohydrates?
  • Proteins responsible for producing lipids and carbohydrates

A pair of homologous chromosomes,

each in the unduplicated state (most often, one from a male parent and its partner from a female parent)

Gene – unit of DNA information about a trait

Alleles – different versions of a gene

Human Chromosomes

charles lyell
Charles Lyell
  • 1797-1875
  • Geologist
  • Wrote “Principles of Geology” 1830
  • Proposed:
    • Earth very old
    • Natural forces gradually change Earth’s surface
charles darwin
Charles Darwin
  • 1831 – 22 yrs old, voyage of the HMS Beagle exploration
  • Observed & collected thousands South American plants & animals
  • Read Lyell’s book
  • Proposed mechanism for evolution of living organisms - Natural Selection
natural selection
Natural Selection
  • Evolution by natural selection
  • Proposed by Darwin and Alfred Wallace independently
  • Darwin – “On the Origin of Species”, 1859
darwin wallace s key ideas
Darwin & Wallace’s Key Ideas
  • Descent with Modification– idea that all organisms are descended with changes from common ancestors
  • Natural Selection– increased survival and reproduction of individuals better adapted to the environment
natural selection21
Natural Selection
  • Organisms have heritable variation in their structures and behaviors
  • Organisms produce more offspring than can survive

Nature selects which variations are best for survival and reproduction;

‘survival of the fittest’

  • Heritable aspect of form, function, behavior, or development that improves the odds for surviving and reproducing in a given environment
sickle cell anemia24
Sickle Cell Anemia
  • In acidic conditions, mutant red blood cells sickle
  • Clog blood vessels
  • Cause pain and eventually death
  • Caused by plasmodium which is carried by mosquitoes
  • Infects red blood cells
malaria sickle cell
Malaria & Sickle Cell
  • Heterozygotes – one mutant allele, one wild-type
  • In acidic conditions, about half the cells sickle
malaria sickle cell27
Malaria & Sickle Cell
  • Plasmodium infects red blood cells, causes an acidic environment
  • Red blood cells that sickle are targeted by immune system – destroy the plasmodium with it
malaria sickle cell28
Malaria & Sickle Cell
  • In malarial environments, heterzygotes for sickle cell have a selective advantage
  • More likely to live longer, have more children
human genome
Human Genome
  • 4,500 gaps where the sequence of DNA units is uncertain
  • Technology does not yet exists for decoding the large amounts of DNA at the center and tips of the chromosomes
human genetic variation
Human Genetic Variation
  • In at least 44 percent of Dr. Venter’s genes, the copies inherited from his mother differ from those inherited from his father
  • Estimated that two individuals would be identical in 99.9% of their DNA, new data indicates around 99.5%
human genome sequencing
Human Genome Sequencing
evolution resources
Evolution Resources