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Natural Selection Lab- PhET Simulation

Pre-Lab Questions
1.
What variables can
you influence in this lab?
Fur, long/short teeth, long/short
tail, environment, adding wolves
2.
Define what a genetic
mutation is. How do genetic mutations happen? How often?
Genetic mutation is an offspring that happens by chance and permanent DNA alteration
in its sequence that differs each one of the results.
3. What do the terms fitness and adaptation mean? What is the difference between
the two?
Genetic fitness is the ability for a species to survive and reproduce in that certain type of
environment.
Adaptation occurs when a species doesnt fit the environment, and a change in their
characteristic or behavior is required.
4. What selection factors might effect an animal population besides the ones used
in this lab?

Designing The Experiment


In this Lab you will be controlling the mutations and environment of a population of rabbits. Your
will create four hypotheses and design an experiment to test each one. Your hypothesis will
follow the format where you fill in the (...) with your own ideas and reasons.
I hypothesize that (select a rabbit phenotype) rabbits will be (more/ less) likely to
survive under (type of selective factor) within the (select type of environment)
environment, because..... (explain how their trait will help them to survive or not)
I hypothesize that a brown fur rabbits will be more likely to survive under wolves
within the equator environment, because their fur matches the environment color,
which makes it, is harder to catch the predators attention and prevent them from
getting eaten.
I hypothesize that a white fur rabbits will be more less likely to survive under wolves
in the equator environment, because their fur color make it easier for the predator
to view and catches them as a prey.
I hypothesize the long tail rabbits will be more likely to survive under wolves in both
environments, because their contrasting bright white long tail can distract and
confuse predators as it may camouflage in the wild. When a rabbit have a long tail,

the predator will focus on their tail and ignores the main body. As it makes a sharp
turn, the focus disappears and makes the predator to re-focus on the animal. This
can slow down predators movement towards the rabbit.
I hypothesize the long teeth rabbits will be more likely to survive under food in both
environments because having long teeth makes it easier for them to consume and
take up foods.

***You must make at least one hypothesis for each of the three different types of phenotype
mutations***

For each experiment you must have a control (no mutation) and fill in the following chart
Experiment
and
Hypothesis

Pheno
type

Selective
Factor

CONTR
OL
Group
Initial
Populatio
n at F3

CONTROL
Group
Final
Population

Experiment
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

Experiment
Group
Final
Population

Conclusion/
Observation

Brown
Fur

Wolve
s

White
37

White
21

Brown
13

Brown
139

True, brown
rabbit survive
from the wolves
better in
equator than
the white rabbit.

White
Fur

Wolve
s

White
39

White
13

Brown
15

Brown
90

True, white
rabbit will less
likely survive in
the equator

Long
Tail

Long
Teeth

Wolve
s

Food

White

White

Equat
or: 36

Equator
2

Arctic:
36

Arctic:
270

White

White

Equat
or: 37

Equator:
17

Arctic:
37

Arctic:
36

Long
Tailed

Long
Tailed

Equator
: 17

Equator:
0

Arctic:
17

Arctic:
92

Long
Teeth

Long
Teeth

Equator
: 17

Equator:
105

Arctic:
17

Arctic:
71

False, long
tailed rabbit
does not affect
wolves in either
of the
environment.
They both
doesnt have
any significant
connection.
True, proven in
the equator and
arctic
environment,
the long teeth
have a more
survival ability
due to its
behavior on
eating foods
and with the
help of their
long tooth.

For each of the experiments, begin by adding a friend and a mutation. Wait until
the F3 generation before adding the selective factor. After adding the selective factor let
the simulation run for another 3 or 4 generations.

Use the population numbers from the chart to get you numbers for the table,
remember you can zoom in and out on the chart to get more accurate reads.

Repeat for experiments 2, 3 and 4

Post-Lab Questions
1. Based upon your evidence from the simulation what conclusion are you able to
make about each of the three different types of phenotypes in rabbits?
Different phenotypes in rabbits determine its survival ability in a certain type of
environment with certain kinds of factors affecting upon them.

2. What happens to animals that cannot compete as well with other animals in the
wild?
Animals that cannot compete with other animals in the wild will extinct, and the one
whos able to survive will built a new ecosystem there.

3. Sometimes animals that are introduced into an area that they never lived in
before, out-compete and endanger resident species, why do you think this happens?
Because they may be cant adapt in that particular environment. They may have suits
other type of environment based on their given characteristic, so if they are putted in a
environment they cant survive in and doesnt match on how their characteristic works, it
can make them out-compete or endanger.

4. If only one species is considered the "fittest", why do we still have so many
variations among species? Why do some birds have very long pointy beaks, while other
birds have short flat beaks?
Because they have and are able to adapt in different types of environment. A bird may
not only live in one kind of environment, because they spread all around the world, and
different area will require its species to adapt for different things in order to survive.

5.

How do you think diseases can affect natural selection?

Natural selection = the fittest will survive. Those who are not resistance to diseases will
not be as fit and healthy as the one that will survive. They will not be able to survive and
die away. While the one who is healthy enough to survive and are resistant to diseases,
will continue to reproduce and live normally.
6. How does this simulation mimic natural selection? In what ways does this
simulation fail to represent the process of natural selection?
It shows that in different environment, with different characteristic and way to adapt,
species will survive naturally and differently. The one that is able to adapt perfectly,
continue to survive and reproduce.

Extension- Changing the Dominance and Recessive Alleles


Take one of the experiments from the lab. Recreate the same experiment, EXCEPT when you
add the mutation EDIT THE GENES by switching the dominant and recessive allele for that trait.
Make a hypothesis, fill in the chart again and compare the results to your initial experiment.

I hypothesize that a brown fur rabbits will be more likely to survive under wolves within the
equator environment, because their fur matches the environment color, which makes it, is
harder to catch the predators attention and prevent them from getting eaten.
Experiment
and
Hypothesis

Pheno
type

Selective
Factor

CONTROL
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

CONTROL
Group
Final
Population

Experment
Group
Initial
Population
at F3

Experiment
Group
Final
Population

Conclusion/
Observation

Bro
wn
Fur

Wolve
s

White
Fur
17

White
Fur
30

White
Fur
17

White
Fur
145

The white fur


rabbit becomes
more
dominant.

Brown
bb
Fur
(White)
1

Brown
Fur
80

Brown
Fur
1

Brown
Fur
14

BB
(Brown)
Bb
(Brown
Dominant)

Bb
(Brown
Dominant)

1. Did switching the alleles for dominant and recessive have any impact on the
population of rabbits? If so Why? In nothing changed Why not?
Yes, because the white rabbit now has the dominant allele, which makes them have
bigger population, and chances to produce new off springs.

2. Two parent rabbits are both heterozygous for the trait. Create Punnet squares for
the original experiment and the new experiment (with the changed alleles). What are the
phenotype ratios of the Punnet squares? Does this evidence support your finding? and
how?
Phenotype
Brown Fur : White Fur
1
Original

bb
(Brown)

BB
(White)

Bb
(White)

Bb
(White)
New

White Fur
3

:
:

Phenotype:

Brown Fur
1

3. If this new experiment were to run longer would the end result be the same or
different from the original experiment?
Different

Extension- Working with Pedigrees- Switch from the population chart to the
pedigree chart
Begin by adding a friend and a mutation. Wait until the F5 generation. Copy the Pedigree for two
rabbits (described below) using the key. Assume that male rabbits are on the left and female
rabbits are on the right.

Find these two rabbits, make sure they have at


least four generations:
1. Select a rabbit that has the mutation.
2. Select a rabbit without the mutation but with parents or grandparent with the
mutation.
Answer the following questions:
1. How could using a pedigree be helpful?
A pedigree can help you predict the future generations it will be producing.

2.

What does it mean to have a yellow triangle above the rabbit?

Mutated rabbit

3.

What does it mean when a rabbit has a red X over it?

Dead generation

4. How accurate are the pedigrees used in this lab? Did each couple only have one
baby?
Its not so accurate, because it was predicted theoretically and we cant predict how
much an offspring can be produced.