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Evolution Exam 2 Biology 1010 Spring 2014

Multiple choice questions key:


1. C
2. B
3. D
4. C
5. B
6. C
7. C
8. C
9. D
10. B
11. D
12. D
13. C
14. B
15. B
Essays

1. The data shown below were presented in class. Each antibiotic named in the left hand column
was used to target specific bacterial infections, but the targets were elusive and managed to
show antibiotic resistance. What is the mechanism(s) that explains bacterial resistance to the
antibiotic? HINT: Please consider these data as a group as there is no need to answer precisely
the relationship between one antibiotic and the other (5 points).

Year introduced

Resistance observed

Penicillin

1943

1946

Chloramphenicol

1947

1959

12

Tetracycline

1948

1953

Erythromycin

1952

1988

36

Ampicillin

1961

1973

12

Years to Resistance

Answer: you need to consider two factors: mutation and selection. In a bacterial population,
which can be very large, there is a good chance that a few bacteria will be less sensitive to
a given antibiotic than others or that within the population there exist variants (mutants)

that are completely resistant. Both conditions described are caused by allelic variations in
the population that are carried because they are not very harmful. When the bacterial
population is exposed to the drug, the sensitive individuals (vast majority in an initial
population) die and only the less sensitive/resistant members of the population pass on this
resistance to all their descendants. The bacteria reproduce in a clonal fashion and after a
while, all the target bacteria become resistant to the drug.

2. Why was sexual dimorphism within a species troubling to Darwin and his ideas on Natural
Selection? What experimental observations in the modern era help in resolving this dichotomy
between the appearance of males and females of the same species? (5 points)

Answer: A basic premise of natural selection is that the individuals within a population whose
genotype/phenotype best match or select for better exploitation of the properties of the niche
or environment will be the most successful at passing on their genes to the next generation.
This statement requires males and females but says nothing about differences between the
sexes (the dimorphism). There is no reason based upon differential survival that females
should be selected for along one line of attributes and males along another. Please
remember we are discussing only species where sex is the mechanism of generating
offspring. As expressed in the video on peacocks, Darwin initially had issues explaining
particularly exaggerated male characteristics which would most likely make the males easier
prey or somehow less fit. (2 points).
The conclusion, reached by Darwin a number of years later was that there was an
significant reason for these extravagant traits and that reason overcame the argument
based on differential survival for sexually reproducing species- leading to sexual selection
(1 point). The extravagant traits were a sign of another significant selection, often the
survival of the offspring. The peacock tail length, spot area correlation with chick survival is
the most obvious example to illustrate this feature. Others examples are the barn swallow
tail length in the males as related to having fewer mite parasites on the offspring (they
survive better), the stalked eyed flies where females select longer-stalked males because
there are more offspring just because of this bias, and the tragopans (brightly and
symmetrically colored pheasants) where the symmetry is another indication of male health.