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The Meaning of Genetic Variation (Grades 9-12)
Author/Source: National Institutes of Health (via Understanding Evolution)
Overview: Students investigate variation in the beta globin gene by identifying base changes that do and do not alter function, and by using several internet-based resources to consider the significance in different environments of the base change associated with sickle cell disease.
Concepts: This lesson covers the following concepts:
- Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Mutations are random, but selection is not; selection is dependent on many factors.
- Traits that are advantageous often persist in a population.
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction.
- Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
Grade Level: 9-12
Time: two 50 minute periods
Teacher Background: Explore these links for additional information on the topics covered in this lesson: