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Natural Selection Lab- PhET Simulation

Pre-Lab Questions
1.
What variables can
you influence in this lab?
Environment, fur color,
tong/short teeth, long/short tail
2.
Define what a genetic
mutation is. How do genetic mutations happen? How often?
A genetic mutation is a permanent adjustment in the DNA structure that makes up a
gene, such that the structure differs from what is found in most people. It range in size;
they can affect anywhere from a single DNA base pair to a large part of a chromosome
that includes multiple genes. The mutations happen all the time.
3. What do the terms fitness and adaptation mean? What is the difference between
the two?
Fitness: the contribution to a gene pool of the next generation by an individual relative to
that of other individual.
Adaptation: the process through which natural selection create changes that increase
genetic fitness.
The different between fitness and adaptation is that fitness is the ability to survive in an
environment and reproduce such as seals have thick layers of fat to prevent them from
cold. That makes them "fit" for that environment and adaptation happens when you
aren't fit for the environment and need to change.
4. What selection factors might effect an animal population besides the ones used
in this lab?
Temperature,oxygenavailability,lightavailability,weather.
Designing The Experiment
In this Lab you will be controlling the mutations and environment of a population of rabbits. Your
will create four hypotheses and design an experiment to test each one. Your hypothesis will
follow the format where you fill in the (...) with your own ideas and reasons.
I hypothesize that (select a rabbit phenotype) rabbits will be (more/ less) likely to
survive under (type of selective factor) within the (select type of environment)
environment, because..... (explain how their trait will help them to survive or not)
I hypnotize that brown fur rabbits will be less likely to survive under wolves within
the arctic environment, because their fur (brown) can be seen clearly in arctic
environment (white) rather than white fur that cant be seen clearly.
I hypnotize that long tail rabbits will be less likely to survive under wolves within the
equator environment, because when the rabbit hide, theres a chance that half of
the tail didnt hide so the wolves where easy to see the rabbit by its tail.

I hypnotize that long teeth rabbits will be more likely to survive under food within
the equator environment, because the long teeth can get them food easily as they
can hide as their long teeth reach the food that not near them.

***You must make at least one hypothesis for each of the three different types of phenotype
mutations***

For each experiment you must have a control (no mutation) and fill in the following chart
Experiment
and
Hypothesis

Pheno
type

Selective
Factor

CONTROL
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

CONTROL
Group
Final
Population

Experment
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

Experiment
Group
Final
Population

fur

wolve
s

white

white

brown

brown

The white
rabbits seen
clearly than
the brown
rabbit so the
wolves eat
white rabbits

teet
h

food

Long
teeth

short
teeth

Short
teeth

Long
teeth

Long teeth can


reach food that
far for them
easily than
short teeth
rabbits

Conclusion/
Observation

tail

wolve
s

Long
tail

long tail

Short
tail

Short
tail

The long tail


can be seen
by their tail
when the tail
not all covered

Fur

wolve
s

white

white

white

white

The brown
rabbits can be
spot easily in
arctic
environment
rather than
white rabbits.

For each of the experiments, begin by adding a friend and a mutation. Wait until
the F3 generation before adding the selective factor. After adding the selective factor let
the simulation run for another 3 or 4 generations.

Use the population numbers from the chart to get you numbers for the table,
remember you can zoom in and out on the chart to get more accurate reads.

Repeat for experiments 2, 3 and 4


Post-Lab Questions
1. Based upon your evidence from the simulation what conclusion are you able to
make about each of the three different types of phenotypes in rabbits?
The color of their fur and the environment determines the rabbits from selective
factor.
Even a tail can be important, as the longer the tail the better for wolves for detecting
the position of the rabbits when their hiding position is not perfect.

2. What happens to animals that cannot compete as well with other animals in the
wild?
It depends on the factor. If an animal cannot compete with another animal then mostly it
leaves the habitat to find another habitat. Or if the animal cannot compete for food then
the animal finally dies due to lack of food.
3. Sometimes animals that are introduced into an area that they never lived in
before, out-compete and endanger resident species, why do you think this happens?
Mostly the original species from the area isnt used to the new predators and havent
adapted to them "in the area" so they will get out-competed leaving them with little
resources leading to an endangered species while the new species dominates and goes
to the top of the food chain.

4. If only one species is considered the "fittest", why do we still have so many
variations among species. Why do some birds have very long pointy beaks, while other
birds have short flat beaks?
Environment is the most important and those animals with the best fur survive a tough
winter. Whenever there is intense competition for scarce resources then the fittest will
survive. The fleetest will survive predators. The one with the best down may attract a
mate. The survivors of disease will have increased natural immunity. Some birds have
long beaks to snare bugs in the bush others have short to snare bugs in the water.
Woodpeckers peck wood while others peck seeds. Survivors pass on their genes.
5. How do you think diseases can affect natural selection?
Basically it explained in the term of natural selection as those with resistance to the
disease will be the ones that will survive and continue to reproduce, while the others die
away.
6. How does this simulation mimic natural selection? In what ways does this
simulation fail to represent the process of natural selection?
It represents the simulation well as it show in details for the aspect. It didnt show a clear
simulation as eventually the wolves came or the food appear and the most confusing is
the different of the short and long teeth as we cant see clearly what happen.

Extension- Changing the Dominance and Recessive Alleles


Take one of the experiments from the lab. Recreate the same experiment, EXCEPT when you
add the mutation EDIT THE GENES by switching the dominant and recessive allele for that trait.
Make a hypothesis, fill in the chart again and compare the results to your initial experiment.
Experiment
and
Hypothesis

Pheno
type

Selective
Factor

CONTROL
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

CONTROL
Group
Final
Population

Experment
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

Experiment
Group
Final
Population

Conclusion/
Observation

1. Did switching the alleles for dominant and recessive have any impact on the
population of rabbits? If so Why? In nothing changed Why not?

2. Two parent rabbits are both heterozygous for the trait. Create Punnet squares for
the original experiment and the new experiment (with the changed alleles). What are the
phenotype ratios of the Punnet squares? Does this evidence support your finding? and
how?

3. If this new experiment were to run longer would the end result be the same or
different from the original experiment?

Extension- Working with Pedigrees- Switch from the population chart to the
pedigree chart
Begin by adding a friend and a mutation. Wait until the F5 generation. Copy the Pedigree for two
rabbits (described below) using the key. Assume that male rabbits are on the left and female
rabbits are on the right.

Find these two rabbits, make sure they have at


least four generations:
1. Select a rabbit that has the mutation.
2. Select a rabbit without the mutation but with parents or grandparent with the
mutation.
Answer the following questions:
1. How could using a pedigree be helpful?

2.

What does it mean to have a yellow triangle above the rabbit?

3.

What does it mean when a rabbit has a red X over it?

4. How accurate are the pedigrees used in this lab? Did each couple only have one
baby?