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Evolution, Natural Selection and Adaptation

Plant Biology Learning Framework

Society Learning Goals Articles Sample Learning Objectives
Evolution, Natural Selection and Adaptation
What evidence shows that different species are related?
  • Using gene trees, support the argument that plants have many genes and gene families in common with all other organisms.
  • Analyze the structural and biochemical evidence for the claim that a single endosymbiotic event between a eukaryotic cell and a cyanobacterium was ancestral to all chloroplasts, including chloroplasts in algal groups.
  • Formulate an evolutionary hypothesis that accounts for the both the similarities and differences among the chloroplasts of red algae, brown algae, green algae, and land plants, including differences in the number of membranes.
  • Draw a generic plant life cycle indicating the role of meiosis and mitosis in establishing multicellular haploid and multicellular diploid stages.
  • Contrast the relative size of the multicellular haploid stage in mosses, ferns, and angiosperms.
  • Use a computational phylogenetic tool and DNA sequences of one or more genes to predict the evolutionary relationships among major plant clades or between plants and other organisms.
How does variation among plants affect survival and reproduction?
  • Compare the relative contributions of recombination, mutation, hybridization, and polyploidy to plant diversity.
  • Explain the biological constraints for hybridization and polyploidy to successfully increase plant diversity.
  • Explain how epigenetic phenomena such as DNA methylation and histone modification lead to phenotypic variation among plants that are otherwise genetically identical.
  • For various species that exhibit a range of diversity, predict some possible outcomes of expansion of their distribution due to climate change.
  • If a new pathogen or herbivore is introduced, predict possible outcomes for a plant species, relative to its diversity.
  • Categorize symbiotic relationships that have adapted plants to life in a terrestrial environment.
  • Compare strategies that have evolved for population migration and dispersal in mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.
  • Select and evaluate an adaptation in plants for retaining water while facilitating gas exchange.
  • For an aquatic plant, select, and evaluate an adaptation for retaining gases needed for photosynthesis.
  • Compare structures and their modifications in desert plants from the southwestern U.S. and South Africa.


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