Interactive Case Study for Natural Selection in an Outbreak
This interactive video explores how two scientists tracked the 2013 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Geneticist Pardis Sabeti investigated the evolution of the virus over time, whereas epidemiologist Lina Moses investigated the societal factors that contributed to the outbreak. Their experiences illustrate some of the factors that can cause an outbreak to occur and why it is important to curb the spread of infection as rapidly as possible. As students watch the video, they are prompted to answer questions that require them to predict steps in the research process and interpret data. Students also make connections to their own experiences with infectious diseases.
The “Student Worksheet” lists the questions embedded in the video. The “Educator Materials” document provides implementation tips from educators who have used interactive case studies in their classroom. It also provides additional discussion questions and guidance on assessing students’ responses.
Student Learning Targets
- Identify some of the factors that can fuel an infectious disease outbreak in humans.
- Explain how viruses evolve by natural selection during an epidemic.
- Describe how the evolution of viruses can be studied using their genetic information.
- Explain why outbreaks should be stopped as early as possible.
Ebola, epidemic, epidemiology, health profession, healthcare, infection, spillover, zoonotic disease
Gire, Stephen K., Augustine Goba, Kristian G. Andersen, Rachel S. G. Sealfon, Daniel J. Park, Lansana Kanneh, Simbirie Jalloh, et al. “Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak.” Science 345, 6202 (2014): 1369–1371. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1259657.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS3-2, HS-LS4-4; SEP1, SEP6, SEP8
AP Biology 2019
SYI-3.A, IST-1.K, IST-1.O, IST-4.B, EVO-1.D, EVO-1.M, ENE-3.D; SP1, SP6
IB Biology 2016
5.2, 6.3, B.5
Vision and Change 2009