Science 3305 Biochemical Evolution

Science 3305

 

Use this document as your answer form and insert your answers between each question highlighted with a distinct but legible font change. For example:

This is a distinct font and color.

Mean phenotypes, 3.75, 3.22, 4.12, 4.01, 3.89

I think this illustrates……..

 

Go to the following internet site:

http://www.biologyinmotion.com/evol/index.html

This is a relatively simple simulator which is meant to illustrate the key features of mutation and selection based evolutionary change.

You are presented with a population of organisms who are competing with each other for access to a food source drifting down from above. Reproductive success is based on accumulating enough food to successful y produce offspring. Accumulating enough food is a function of successfully reaching up for the food particles with the organism’s catcher apparatus. Those with the most effective catcher collect the most food and thus contribute the most to the following generations of organisms.

The simulation includes the following adjustable values:

  • Selection strength alters the evasive ability of the food, the greater the value the greater the selection force.
  • Mutation rate alters the likelihood of a mutation in the organism’s catcher apparatus. In this case the mutations can be either helpful or harmful.
  • Number of generations you can test with a set of the above values. The more generations which pass the more changes are possible in a population.

Look over the simulator and read all the content panels in the upper left corner of the window.

Explore all the adjustments possible while running the simulation for the various intervals provided then, once you are comfortable with the controls please carry on the following investigations and document the result, which in all cases is the mean (average) phenotype (physical characteristic; catcher length). Fully expressed answers required for full credit. Answer each question thoughtfully.

  • Using the default values by hitting the reset button in the middle left. If you get lost hit reset and start again. Note the distribution of phenotypes (1,2, 3 and 4 segment catchers) in the upper left .
    1. What is the initial mean phenotype (how many catcher segments)?
    2. Run one cycle and report the mean phenotype.
    3. Run 5 more cycles and report the mean phenotype.
    4. Run 50 more cycles and report the mean phenotype.
    5. Why did these change in the manner they did? What does tell you about the mechanism at work? Note the distribution of phenotypes (1,2, 3 and 4 segment catchers)Explain how this occured?
    6. Without resetting continue selecting the 50 generation button until you reach 250 generations. Report the mean phenotype.
    7. Reset the simulator before each run and repeat the 250 generation simulation 5 times. Report the mean phenotype from each run. Why do they differ? Why are they similar?
  • Alter the settings as instructed below and redo the 5 repetitions of 250 generations, resetting between runs and record the 5 mean phenotypes. Why are these values different? Explain.
    1. After resetting, select settings and change:
      1. Selection strength to 0.4. Report 5 mean phenotypes and explanation as above.
      2. Selection strength to 0.0 ….
  • Selection strength to 0.8, mutation rate to 0.6….
  1. Selection strength to 0.8, mutation rate to 0.0…
  2. Selection strength to 0.4, mutation rate to 0.6….
  3. Selection strength to 0.4, mutation rate to 0.0…
  1. Summarize your understanding of what you did. How does this illustrate what we need to understand about evolution?
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