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The naturalists of yesteryear, like Linnaeus and Darwin, would have marveled if they could have had a glimpse of our present knowledge of chromosomes and cell division, of what proteins are and how they are made in cells. Their conjectures and ideas would have become more concrete. In those days, however, their jobs were more difficult and their theories less accepted because the study of genetics did not exist. DNA had not yet been identified; the source of inheritance patterns and the barriers to breeding between species were unknown.

Since the structure of DNA was determined in 1953, biologists have been working with this huge molecule to unravel its mysteries. Certainly now, with so much knowledge available, our understanding of the concepts of adaptation and evolution is much greater than it was for the pioneers of this branch of biology.

DNA is the topic for the first part of the Evolution study guide unit, where its structure and functions are briefly considered. From there, the unit delves into the role of DNA in evolution, and examines natural selection, gradual change vs. punctuated equilibrium, and some human impacts on evolutionary change.

Evolution is excerpted from our Biology 11 Study Guide, which is the fourth edition of a student study guide written to match the curriculum of British Columbia. The concepts presented are applicable to the biology curricula of other educational jurisdictions as well.

As with each of the biology study guide units in this series, this unit contains:

  • Biological terms linked to a Glossary where they are carefully and contextually defined
  • Biological names in the Glossary linked to a useful Taxonomic Guide
  • Diagrams that display fullscreen views when double-tapped
  • Quiz-view formats of many diagrams in the enhanced version
  • Sets of Concept Check-up questions dispersed in the unit that are linked to their answers
  • Sets of Discussion Questions dispersed in the unit designed to challenge you as you work through it
  • A concluding set of Check Your Understanding of Concepts multiple choice questions linked to their answers
  • A set of Build Your Understanding questions designed to push you beyond the limitations of this unit.

Note: Discussion Questions and Build Your Understanding questions are not linked to their answers.