Evo-Ed: Integrative Cases in Evolution Education

Cases for Evolution Education

A complete understanding of evolution requires knowledge that spans many biological sub-disciplines. However, students are often taught evolution in the context of ecological systems and isolated from genetic and cellular ones. To address this issue, we have developed case studies that track the evolution of traits from their origination in DNA mutation, to the production of different proteins, to the fixation of alternate macroscopic phenotypes in reproductively isolated populations.

You can navigate through the case studies using the menu at the top of the page.

A short abstract of each case study is provided below with links to PowerPoint slides that are designed to be teaching resources for those who wish to implement one or more studies into their teaching.

If you use the cases, we'd love to hear from you!

Primate Opsins Pea Taste Mice Fur Clam Toxins

Monkey Opsins

Some monkey species have trichromatic, full color vision whereas others have dichromatic, red-green colorblind vision. Trichromatic monkey species can produce three types of transmembrane opsin proteins in the cone cells of their eyes; dichromatic monkey species only produce two types. This case study examines the genetics, cell biology, ecology and phylogenetics of this system.

Link to PowerPoint slides

PowerPoint Slides

Link to Games and Simulations

Games and Sims

Mouse Fur Color

The beach mouse, (Peromyscus polionotus) is a small rodent found in southeastern United States. There are several sub-species that have different fur colors ranging from light to very dark. Beach mice with light fur often have a single nucleotide substitution mutation in their melanocortin 1 receptor gene that affects their ability to produce the dark fur pigment eumelanin. This case study examines the genetics, cell biology, ecology and population genetics of this system.

Link to PowerPoint slides

PowerPoint Slides

Link to Games and Simulations

Games and Sims

Pea Taste

The common field pea (Pisum sativum) is one of the first plants to be domesticated as a crop, dating back to the Neolithic agricultural revolution, 10,000 BCE. They are the same species that Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics, used in his experiments when he discovered the laws of genetic inheritance. Wrinkled peas are sweeter than round peas because, as a result of an insertion mutation, they lack a functional starch branching enzyme. This case study examines the genetics, cell biology, Mendelian connections and population genetics of this system.>

Link to PowerPoint slides

PowerPoint Slides

Link to Games and Simulations

Games and Sims

Toxin Resistance in Clams

Soft shell clams (Mya arenaria) are bivalves native to the east coast of North America. They are susceptible to paralytic shellfish poisoning caused by a poison, saxitoxin, that is produced by dinoflagellates during algal blooms. However, some clams have an nucleotide substitution mutation in a voltage gated sodium channel gene that makes them resistant to saxitoxin poisoning. This case study examines the genetics, cell biology, ecology and population genetics of this system.

Link to PowerPoint slides

PowerPoint Slides

Link to Games and Simulations

Games and Sims