NERE, the Network for Experimental Research on Evolution, is a University of California Multicampus Research Program funded and administered through the UC Office of the President and its constituent UC campuses. NERE (pronounced “near”) supports collaboration, communication, and graduate education concerned with research on biological evolution. NERE serves as a conduit for interactions between evolutionists within the University of California system and between University of California scientists and the global scientific community.
NERE Frontpage News:
Born to Run Article Coming to Science Scope
An article featuring this lesson has been accepted for publication in Science Scope, NSTA’s journal for middle school science teachers (and also used by many high school teachers). Co-author, Ted Garland, Jr. has made the pre-publication article directly available to you from his website. Here’s the citation, online source and abstract of the article:
Radojcic, T., and T. Garland, Jr. 2014. Born to run: Experimental evolution of high voluntary exercise in mice. Science Scope. In press. (Link)
Students rarely get opportunities for inquiry-based learning when they study evolution. Most of their hands-on learning experiences are simulations or involve reviewing data that has already been collected. In this lesson, students examine the changes in leg bones of mice that have been artificially selected in the laboratory for high levels of wheel running. Wheel running by laboratory rodents can be viewed as a model of human voluntary exercise or as a model of the daily movements that other animals exhibit in nature, so it has relevance for both applied and basic science. As the wheel-running behavior of the "High Runner" lines of mice has evolved across tens of generations, many other changes have also been observed in the mice, encompassing other behaviors, physiology, and morphology. Students develop hypotheses about how the thigh bones (femurs) of animals that are good runners might be different from those that are not. They develop a protocol for testing their hypothesis by using digital photographs to measure the bones of selected and control animals (taken from generation 11), and then analyze their data to determine if their hypotheses were supported. This lesson, including supporting resources, can be accessed on The Evolution and Nature of Science Website (2012).