The Basis of Evolution

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” -- Charles Darwin

What’s the Big Idea?
• Descent with Modification
– organisms are altered through descent from an ancestor that lived in the remote past
• Environments change • Species change 19.3

Lecture 1-19 (HHMI)

• Descent with Modification is like a tree with multiple branching points from a common trunk to the tips of the youngest twigs that represent the diversity of living organisms
Years ago

Sirenia (Manatees Hyracoidea (Hyraxes) and relatives)
Stegodon Mammuthus Mammut

Elephas Loxodonta maximus africana (Africa) (Asia)

Loxodonta cyclotis (Africa)

Deinotherium

Millions of years ago

Moeritherium

Barytherium

Platybelodon

Homology
• Homology
– Is the study of similar structures in different species due to their ancestry

19.5

Anatomical Homologies
• Homologous structures are anatomical similarities that represent variations of a structure that was present in a common ancestor

19.5

Human

Cat

Whale

Bat

• Homology in embryology (study of development)
– Reveals additional anatomical similarities not visible in adult organisms

Pharyngeal pouches

Post-anal tail

Chick embryo

19.5

Human embryo

Vestigial organs
– Are remnants of structures that served important functions in the organism’s ancestors

Letter c in the picture indicates the undeveloped hind

19.5

legs of a baleen whale.

• Genetic homologies
– Are generally reflected in their molecules, their genes, and their gene products
Species Human Rhesus monkey Percent of Amino Acids That Are Identical to the Amino Acids in a Human Hemoglobin Polypeptide 100%

95%

Mouse

87%

Chicken

69%

Frog

54%

19.5

Lamprey

14%

Gene sequence conservation in hemoglobin
Coding Coding Coding

INTRON

• • • • •

Human Chimp Rat Mouse Chicken

EXONS 19.5
Genome Browser

What’s the Big Idea?
• Natural Selection
– “The preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations I call Natural Selection”
-- Charles Darwin

19.1-3

What’s needed for Natural Selection?
• Variation – differing characteristics • Adaptation - characteristics that offer a survival/reproductive advantage • Selection – favoring or rejection of certain characteristics • Time – TIME (thousands/millions of years)
Lecture 1-26 (HHMI)

19.1

• Observation #1: Many more offspring are produced than survive for each species • Observation #2: Nonetheless, populations tend to be stable in size • Observation #3: Populations of species have limited resources • Inference #1: There is a struggle for existence among individuals of a population, with only a fraction of their 19.4 offspring surviving

• Observation #4: Members of a population vary extensively in their characteristics • Observation #5: Much of this variation is heritable

19.4

• Inference #2: Survival depends in part on
inherited traits. Individuals whose inherited traits give them a high probability of surviving and reproducing are likely to leave more offspring than other individuals.

• Inference #3: This unequal ability of
individuals to survive and reproduce will lead to a gradual change in a population, with favorable characteristics becoming more common (natural selection).
19.4

Artificial Selection
• Human (not nature) directed • Demonstrates that selecting variations can alter form over time

19.6