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These notes explain how to run the ‘Highlighting Important Stages in Evolution’ activity ... - page 10 / 11





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1.7 Continuity of cells

Describe the process of meiosis and understand its significance in producing haploid cells and genetic variation.

2.2 The adaptation of organisms  

Understand that organisms are adapted to their environment:

adaptation as a combination of behavioural, physiological and morphological ways in which an organism meets a particular environmental challenge

study of behavioural, physiological and morphological ways that organisms meet environmental challenges

study of organisms in their habitat (e.g. rough and smooth periwinkles on a rocky shore) refer to xerophytic and hydrophytic adaptations.

Understand that ecological factors have an influence on the distribution of organisms.

Understand the role of selection in maintaining the adaptiveness of populations of organisms in their environment:

fitness as those features which allow an organism to be adapted in its environment

the role of selection in maintaining the fitness of a population of organisms

those individuals with features best suited to their environment leave proportionally greater numbers of


this differential reproductive success maintains the fitness of a population

natural selection does not create useful adaptations but rather edits genetically inheritable features in a

population, increasing the frequency of some while decreasing the frequency of others over time

stabilising selection in maintaining the constancy of features in a non-changing environment

directional selection in bringing about a change in frequency of a feature in a changing environment,

and accounting for the diversity of organisms.

2.3 Biodiversity

Understand that the biochemical basis of life is similar for all organisms:

all living organisms contain the biochemicals carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins.

Understand that biodiversity involves variation among living organisms at all levels of biological organisation:

genetic diversity as the diversity of genes within a species

species diversity as the diversity among species in an ecosystem

ecosystem diversity as the variety of ecosystems within the biosphere.

Understand the concept of the species:

a species as a group of individuals of common ancestry that closely resemble each other, and are normally capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring.

Understand the other taxa within which species can be grouped:

genus as a group of similar and closely related species

family as a group of apparently related genera

order as a group of apparently related genera

class as a grouping of orders within a phylum

phylum as a grouping of organisms constructed on a similar plan

kingdom as the largest and most inclusive grouping.

Understand phylogenetic taxonomy as a means of classifying sets of species according to ancestral relationships:

establishing relationships among organisms according to a number of measurable features including:

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