This activity explores images of stickleback fish, some with spines and some without spines, which serve as phenomena for learning about gene regulation and natural selection.
Most stickleback fish in the ocean have structures called pelvic spines. However, stickleback fish in some lakes do not. The presence of pelvic spines is determined by a gene called Pitx1. For stickleback fish without pelvic spines, Pitx1 is not active in the pelvic area. The images show several modern-day and fossil stickleback specimens. The pelvic area is circled in each image.
The “Educator Materials” document includes background information and implementation suggestions for using the images as phenomena. The “Student Handout” includes the images and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Examine images of phenomena, make observations, and ask questions.
- Collaborate with peers on ideas, ask questions that require higher levels of reasoning, and develop deeper understanding of concepts.
- Explain how mutations in a gene regulatory region can lead to changes in traits.
- Describe how different environments can provide different selective pressures on an organism’s morphology.
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