Discussion: Mutation and Human Evolution
Just as scientists gather evidence about prehistoric animals by examining bones and fossils, scientists also study human bones and fossils to learn about changes in human populations. In addition, scientists study changes in the human genome to track and understand changes in the human population. As you have learned in previous weeks, the process of meiosis causes genetic variation among offspring. In addition, mutations that occur during meiosis lead to changes in offspring. When these mutations are advantageous for the offspring, they may be passed to further generations. For this week’s Discussion, you explore the evidence scientists have uncovered regarding how mutations in the human genome have led to observable changes in the human population.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review Chapter 8, “Does Testing Save Lives?” in the course text and consider how genetic traits are passed to offspring.
- Review Chapter 11, “Where Did We Come From?” in the course text and consider the evidence scientists use to support their understanding of human evolution.
- Log on to MasteringBiology (see the Media section of the Required Resources) to review the animations “Principles of Evolution” and and note how changes occur in populations of living organisms over time.
- Select one of the following mutations to address for this discussion:
- Skin color
- Facial structure and brain volume
- Conduct research on the mutation you selected and evaluate the significance of this mutation’s role in human evolution.
- Read the Discussion Spark topic/question or comment posted by your Instructor in the Discussion Thread on Day 1.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 2
Post a 1- to 2-paragraph response to the Discussion Spark.
Important Note: The Discussion Spark and the weekly Discussion topic below will be graded together. You will see one score in your My Grades area.
By Day 4
Post two or more paragraphs evaluating the significance of your selected mutation’s role in human evolution. Your evaluation should include the following:
- A brief description of the mutation
- A brief explanation of when and how the mutation occurred
- At least two ways in which the human population benefited from the mutation
- Your position on the significance of this mutation in human evolution
- Reference to at least two sources outside the Required Resources
- All references cited in APA format
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
****DISCUSSION SPARK QUESTION*****
What do you consider mysterious about the development of humans and our society? How might the work of scientists help to uncover facts to understand this mystery?