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CHAPTER 23

AN INTRODUCTION
TO EVOLUTION

Prepared by
Brenda Leady, University of Toledo

1 reprod
Copyright (c) The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for
Biological evolution
 A heritable change in one or more
characteristics of a population or species
across many generations
 Viewed on a small scale relating to
changes in a single gene in a population
over time
 Viewed on a larger scale relating to
formation of new species or groups of
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Species
 Group of related organisms that share a
distinctive form
 Among species that reproduce sexually,
members of the same species are capable
of interbreeding to produce viable and
fertile offspring

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Empirical thought
 Relies on observation to form an idea or
hypothesis, rather than trying to
understand life from a non-physical or
spiritual point of view

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 Mid- to late-1600s, John Ray was the first
to carry out a thorough study of the natural
world
 Developed an early classification system
 Modern species concept
 Extended by Carolus Linnaeus
 Neither proposed that evolutionary change
promotes the formation of new species

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 Late 1700s, small number of European
scientists suggest life forms are not fixed
 George Buffon says life forms change
over time
 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck realized that some
animals remain the same while others
change
 Believed living things evolved upward toward
human “perfection”
 Inheritance of acquired characteristics
 Giraffe neck example
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Charles Darwin
 British naturalist born in 1809
 Theory shaped by several different fields
of study
 Geology
 Economics
 Voyage of the Beagle

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 Uniformitarism hypothesis from geology
 Slow geological processes lead to substantial
change
 Earth was much older than 6,000 years
 Thomas Malthus, an economist, says that
only a fraction of any population will
survive and reproduce

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Beagle (1831-1836)
 Darwin’s ideas were most influenced by
his own observations
 Struck by distinctive traits of island
species that provided them ways to better
exploit their native environment
 Galapagos Island finches
 Saw similarities in species yet noted that
differences that provided them with
specialized feeding strategies
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 Formulated theory of evolution by mid-1840s
 Spent several additional years studying
barnacles
 1856, began writing his book
 1858, Alfred Wallace sends Darwin an
unpublished manuscript proposing many of the
same ideas
 Darwin’s and Wallace’s papers published
together
 Darwin’s The Origin of the Species is published
detailing his ideas with observational support

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 Fundamental principle underlying
evolution is that biological species change
over the course of many generations
 Darwin hypothesized that existing life
forms are the product of the modification
of pre-existing life forms

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Descent with modification
 Evolution based on
 Variationwithin a given species
 Natural selection
 Natural selection
 Culls out those individuals less likely to
survive and reproduce while allowing others
with traits that make them better suited to
survive and reproduce
 Leads to adaptation
 Population’scharacteristics change to make
its members better suited to an environment
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 Darwin’s theory preceded Mendel’s
genetics work
 Genetics has allowed us to understand the
relationship between traits and inheritance
 Modern synthesis of evolution
 Natural variation exists that is caused by
random changes in the genetic material
 May be positive, negative or neutral
 If genetic change promotes an individual’s
survival and/or ability to reproduce, natural
selection may increase the prevalence of that
trait in future generations
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Observations of evolutionary change

 Fossil record
 Biogeography
 Convergent evolution
 Selective breeding
 Homologies
 Anatomical
 Developmental
 Molecular
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Fossils
 Even with an incomplete fossil record,
evolutionary changes can be
demonstrated
 Fishapod
 Oysters
 Horse family

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Fishapod (Tiktaalik roseae)

 Illuminates steps leading to evolution of


tetrapods
 Transitional form – provides link between
earlier and later forms
 Had broad skull, flexible neck, eyes on
top, primitive wrist and 5 fingers
 Peek above water and look for prey

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Oysters
 200 mya some oysters underwent shell
changes
 Smaller, curved shells were superseded
by larger, flatter shells
 Flatter shells are more stable in disruptive
water currents and so were better adapted
when water currents became stronger

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Horse family
 Earliest fossils were small with short legs
and broad feet
 Adaptive changes
 Dog sized to more than half a ton
 4 front toes/ 3 hind toes to single toe in a hoof
 Small teeth to much larger ridged teeth
 Attributed to adaptations to changing
global climate

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Biogeography
 Study of the geographical distribution of extinct
and modern species
 Isolated continents and island groups have
evolved their own distinct plant and animal
communities
 Endemic – naturally found only in a particular location
 Island fox (Urocyon littoralis) evolved from
mainland gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

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 Evolution of major animal groups
correlated with known changes in the
distribution of land masses on the Earth
 First mammals arose 225 mya when
Australia was still connected
 Placental mammals arose 80 mya after
Australia separated
 Australia has no large, terrestrial placental
mammals
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Convergent evolution
 2 different species from different lineages
show similar characteristics because they
occupy similar environments
 Example analogous or convergent traits
 Giant anteater and echidna both have long
snouts and tongues to feed on ants
 Aerial rootlets for clinging in English ivy and
wintercreeper
 Antifreeze proteins in different very cold water
fish
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Selective breeding/artificial selection

 Programs and procedures designed to


modify traits in domesticated species
 Darwin influenced by pigeon breeders
 Nature chooses parents in natural
selection while breeders choose in
artificial selection
 Made possible by genetic variation
 Breeders choose desirable phenotypes
 Dog, wild mustard, and corn examples
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The Grants Have Observed Natural Selection in
Galapagos Finches

 Since 1973, the Grants have studied natural


selection
 Focused much of their work on Daphne Major –
moderately isolated, undisturbed habitat and
resident finches
 Compared beak sizes of parents and offspring
over many years
 Birds with larger beaks survived better during
drought years
 In the year after drought, average beak depth
increases
Homology
 Fundamental similarity due to descent
from a common ancestor
 Anatomical
 Development
 Molecular

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Anatomical homology
 Same set of bones in the limbs of modern
vertebrates has undergone evolutionary change
to be used for many different purposes
 Homologous structures are derived from a
common ancestor
 Vestigial structures are anatomical structures
that have no apparent function but resemble
structures of presumed ancestors
 Ear wiggling muscles, tail bone, embryonic gill ridges

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Developmental homology
 Species that differ as adults often bear
striking similarities during embryonic
stages
 Presence of gill ridges in human embryos
indicates that humans evolved from an
aquatic animal with gill slits
 Human embryos have long bony tails

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Molecular homology
 Similarities in cells at the molecular level
indicate that living species evolved from a
common ancestor or interrelated group of
common ancestors
 All living species use DNA to store
information
 Certain biochemical pathways are found in
all or nearly all species

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 The same type of gene is often found in
diverse organisms
 P53 plays a role in preventing cancer
 Certain genes are found in a diverse array of
species
 Sequences of closely related species tend to
be more similar to each other than to distantly
related species

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Molecular processes underlying evolution

 Homologous genes – 2 genes derived


from the same ancestral gene
 Reveals molecular details of evolutionary
change
 2 sequences may be similar due to the
same ancestral gene but not identical due
to the independent accumulation of
different random mutations

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 Orthologs occur in separate species
 Paralogs are homologous genes within a
single species
 Gene duplication can lead to a gene family
2 or more paralogs within the genome of a
single organism
 Globin genes coding for oxygen binding
proteins

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New Genes in Eukaryotes Have
Evolved Via Exon Shuffling
 Exon shuffling occurs when an exon and the
flanking introns are inserted into a gene
producing a new gene that encodes a protein
with an additional domain
 Proteins can alter traits and be acted upon
by natural selection
 May occur by more than one mechanism
 Double crossover
 Transposable elements
Horizontal gene transfer
 Exchange of genetic material among
different species
 Vertical gene transfer involves evolution from
pre-existing species by accumulation of
mutations, gene duplications and exon
shuffling
 Common phenomenon
 Prokaryotes to eukaryotes, eukaryotes to
prokaryotes, between prokaryotes and
between eukaryotes
 Widespread among bacteria
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 Evolution also occurs at the genomic level
involving changes in chromosome structure and
number
 Compare 3 largest chromosomes in humans
and apes
 Similar due to close evolutionary relationship
 Humans have 1 large chromosome 2 while apes have
it divided into 2 separate chromosomes
 Chromosome 3 very similar but orangutans have a
large inversion
 May have established orangutans as a new species

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