These images from the Smithsonian Institution depict Nancy Knowlton's work with snapping shrimp in Panama. Knowlton found that the closing of the isthmus -- dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean -- resulted in new species of shrimp.
This annotated slideshow adapted from KET's Electronic Field Trip to the Forest illustrates how blight decimated the American chestnut tree and the methods scientists use to identify and pollinate the remaining trees to create blight-resistant trees.
The goal of this activity is to demystify the science behind Punnett Squares and explore data and statistical representations in genetics and heredity. Begin by breeding two parent mice and observe the ratios in the pie chart as more offspring are bred in each litter. Compare the ratios between different pairs of parents and identify how they are different or similar. Finally, use the simulation controls to show gametes and reveal how each offspring obtained its genotype from its parents.
In 1883, Sir Francis Galton, a nineteenth-century English social scientist, statistician, and psychologist, coined the term “eugenics” from the Greek word eugenes, meaning well-born. The practice of eugenics aims to improve the genetic quality of a human population through selective breeding—encouraging reproduction for the “strongest” humans while discouraging reproduction for the “weakest” humans. Cultural, social, and scientific ideas of the late nineteenth-century informed how eugenicists identified desirable and undesirable genetic traits. According to these eugenicists, the “strongest” humans were typically white (from northern and western Europe), healthy, and wealthy. The “weakest” humans were typically non-white (or white from southern and eastern Europe), poor, physically or mentally disabled, or considered criminally or sexually “deviant.”
History and Science of Cultivated Plants narrates how humans transitioned from foragers to farmers and have arrived at present-day industrial agriculture-based civilization. It entails myths, historical accounts, and scientific concepts to describe how human efforts have shaped and produced easier to grow, larger, tastier, and more nutritious fruits, vegetables, and grains from wild plants. Using examples of various economically and socially important crops central to human civilization, the book describes the origin of crop plants, the evolution of agricultural practices, fundamental concepts of natural selection vs. domestication, experimental and methodical plant breeding, and plant biotechnology.
In "Anthem", by Ayn Rand, Equality speaks of the Home of Eugenics in which males and females of his dystopian society must report to at the appropriate age. To help students better understand the ethical issues with eugenics, they will interact with this informational article from the Huffington Post. This article will allow students to discuss and learn about the issues of eugenics in their own back yard.
This video segment from Kentucky Life describes how scientists control pollination of one of the few remaining American chestnut trees to develop blight resistant trees.