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Tutorial: Investigating Evolutionary Questions Using Online Molecular Databases
In this lesson students learn that degrees of biological relationship can be inferred from comparisons of selected molecules. Students are guided through a process in which three questions are addressed by retrieving beta hemoglobin sequences from online databases. They then use online tools to compare those sequences in student-selected animals. The questions addressed are: whether bats are birds or mammals; whether whales are more closely related to artiodactyls or perissodactyls; and whether birds should be included in the class Reptilia.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Lesson plan
  • Biology
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1999 ENSI (Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes) This material may be copied only for noncommercial classroom teaching purposes, and only if this source is clearly cited.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-004-804
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Systems, order, and organization
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Abilities of technological design
        • Understandings about science and technology
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes