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Evolution: Identifying a deep sea creature Virtual Lab

Dive into the evolution of whales: from a sequence of nucleotides to a 30-meter long blue whale.

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Evolution: Identifying a deep sea creature

About this Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Evolution” simulation.

Explore the evolution of a sea monster! In this simulation, you will learn about evolution and next generation sequencing by researching the genetic sequence of a sea monster that has washed up on a beach. Follow the evolution of a single cell to a 30-meter long blue whale.

Visit the sea monster

Go meet the researcher Ponleu on a remote beach in Cambodia where a mysterious sea monster has been washed ashore. Take a blood sample back to the lab for analysis. Is the sea monster really what it seems?

Next generation sequencing

Use a next generation sequencing machine to analyse the genetic sequence of a sea monster and discover it’s evolutionary ancestry. Discover the analogous and homologous traits in different species, such as a human and a whale, by comparing their physical structures. Could a common ancestor be the cause of these structural similarities, or have these species evolved separately but a similar adaptation was required to survive? Compare the genetic sequence of the sea monster with that of different known sequences to identify the species the sea monster is closely related to: the blue whale!

Create a phylogenetic tree

Dive deeper into the genetics of the sea monster by using the genetic sequence of the sea monster to generate a phylogenetic tree. Explore the tree to learn about common ancestors and the most recent common ancestors of the whale. How did evolution help a small, four-legged land dweller to become the largest animal to ever swim the oceans?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Use DNA sequencing and phylogenetic trees to identify an unknown creature

  • Deal with common misconceptions about the theory of evolution

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • NGS
  • Phylogenetic interpretation

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