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Natural Selection - Script and Answer Key

Natural Selection - Script and Answer Key

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Published by Adam Simpson

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Published by: Adam Simpson on Aug 28, 2012
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Natural selection
Today I’m talking to doctor James Smith, who will discussing the subject of natural selection. Dr. Smith, can you please explain what it’s all about? 
Natural selection is a central concept of evolution, sometimes called the
survival of the fittest 
. It was an idea of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. (1) Darwin chose thename as an analogy with artificial selection (selective breeding).Natural selection is the process where organisms with favorable traits are more likely toreproduce. In doing so, they pass on these traits to the next generation. Over time thisprocess allows organisms to adapt to their environment. This is because the frequencyof genes for favorable traits increases in the population.(2) Members of a species are not all alike, partly because of differences in heredity(genetics). This is true even with children of the same parents. Some of thesedifferences might make one organism better at surviving and reproducing than others ina particular habitat. When this organism reproduces, it passes along the genes, whichgave it the advantage, to its children. Some adaptations are extremely long-lasting,useful in many habitats. The evolution of wings in birds is an example. Others are goodonly as long as the environment stays the same. If the environment changes enough,then another organism might do better.
OK, then. Can you give us an overview of what you’ll talk about today? 
Contents
 
1 The process
 
2 Examples
o
 
2.1 Antibiotic resistance
o
 
2.2 Camouflage
o
 
2.3 Mimicry
Right, so I guess you’ll start by talking about the process.
 
The process
Natural selection
explains why living organisms change over time to have the anatomy,the functions and behaviour that they have. It works like this:
 
1.
 
All living things have such fertility that their population size could (3)increaserapidly forever.2.
 
We see that the size of populations does not increase to this extent. Mostly,numbers remain (4)about the same.3.
 
The food and other resources are limited. Therefore, there is (5)competition forfood and resources.4.
 
No two individuals are alike. Therefore, they will not have the same chances to(6)live and reproduce.5.
 
Much of this variation can be inherited. The parents pass such traits to the(7)children through their genes.6.
 
The next generation can only come from those that survive and reproduce
. Aftermany generations of this, the population will have more helpful geneticdifferences, and fewer harmful ones.
Natural selection is really a process of 
(8)
elimination
. The elimination is being caused by the relative fit between theindividuals, and the environment they live in.
Ok, so that clarifies how it happens. Do you think you could give us some examplesnow? 
Examples
There are now quite a number of examples of natural selection in natural populations.
Antibiotic resistance
Resistance to antibiotics is increased by the survival of individuals which are immune tothe effects of the antibiotic. Their offspring inherit the resistance, creating a newpopulation of resistant bacteria.A well-known example of natural selection in action is the development of antibioticresistance in microorganisms. (9) Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by AlexanderFleming, antibiotics have been used to fight bacterial diseases. Natural populations of bacteria contain, among their vast numbers of individual members, considerablevariation in their genetic material, as the result of mutations. When exposed toantibiotics, most bacteria die quickly, but some may have mutations that make themslightly less susceptible. If the exposure to antibiotics is short, these individuals willsurvive the treatment. This selective elimination of maladapted individuals from apopulation is natural selection.Given enough time, and repeated exposure to the antibiotic, a population of antibiotic-resistant bacteria will emerge. This leads to what is known as an evolutionary arms race,or co-evolution, in which bacteria continue to develop strains that are less susceptibleto antibiotics, while medical researchers continue to develop new antibiotics that can

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