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Special Topics in Evolution

Special Topics in Evolution

Test Your Knowledge!

The Origin of Life

1. Which of the following is NOT a potential precursor to RNA?
  
(A) DNA
(B) PNA
(C) TNA
(D) GNA
(E) All are precursors

2.
Which of the following is NOT a plausible model for origin of life on Earth?
   
(A) RNA World
(B) Panspermia
(C) Primordial soup
(D) Clay Catalysis
(E) All are plausible models

3. Which of the following was NOT included in the Miller-Urey experiment?
  
(A) Electrical charge
(B) Hydrogen Cyanide
(C) Heat
(D) Ammonia gas
(E) All were included in the experiment

4. Which of the following is a necessary component of a proto-cell?
  
(A) Ribosome
(B) Lipid synthesizing ribozyme
(C) Self-replicating ribozyme
(D) Splicing ribozyme
(E) dNTP synthesizing ribozyme

5.
Which of the following supports an extraterrestrial origin of life?
  
(A) Certain biomolecules could not be formed in the early Earth environment
(B) Archaebacteria thrive on comet energy
(C) NASA scientists artificially created life in space
(D) Meteorites provided the energy to catalyze biomolecule formation
(E) All of the above

Taxonomy

1. Which of the following is NOT true about multicellular life?
  
(A) Cell-cell communication
(B) Adhesion between cells
(C) Must be a plant, animal or fungus
(D) Could be formed by symbioses between unicellular organisms
(E) Cells within the organism have specialized tasks and are differentiated

2. Which of the following best describes the eukaryotic domain?
  
(A) Cells can be 1 mm in size
(B) Has a circular genome
(C) Genes are encoded in operons
(D) Uses a 70S ribosome
(E) Has a peptidoglycan cell wall

3. Which of the following best describes the prokaryotic domain?
  
(A) Cells have a pseudomurein wall
(B) Genes have introns
(C) Are over 500 m in diameter
(D) Don't have any organelles
(E) Genome is composed of several chromosomes

4. Which of the following supports the notion that mitochondria are endosymbionts?
  
(A) Mitochondria has two membranes
(B) Protein synthesis in mitochondria initiates with N-formylmethionine
(C) Mitochondria has its own circular DNA
(D) Mitochondria has a 70S ribosome
(E) All of the above

5. Which statement is NOT true of the Linnean system of taxonomy?
  
(A) All organisms fall into one of three domains
(B) Orders are composed of groups of classes
(C) Organisms are named based upon their genus and species names
(D) Each kingdom is composed of several phyla
(E) All families can be grouped into one of several orders

Life Marches On

1. Which of the following is NOT a type of speciation?
  
(A) Sympatric
(B) Peripatric
(C) Allopatric
(D) Parapatric
(E) Propatric

2. Why is punctuated equilibrium different from saltation?
  
(A) It is not different
(B) Punctuated equilibrium is based on gradual acquisitions of mutations while saltation is not
(C) Punctuated equilibrium does not apply to animals
(D) Saltation uses Lamarckian evolution
(E) Punctuated equilibrium is not based on natural selection

3. Which is not a type of selection?
  
(A) Disruptive
(B) Convergent
(C) Stabilizing
(D) Directional
(E) Natural

4. Which of the following is a non-heritable trait?
  
(A) Musical skill
(B) Eye color
(C) Height
(D) Obesity
(E) Skin color

5. Which is not true of Lamarckian evolution?
  
(A) It has been universally discredited
(B) Experience can be passed off to improve offspring fitness
(C) Organisms evolve from simple to complex states
(D) Frequency of use affects size of organ
(E) All are true

Macroevolution

1. Which of the following are not found on all phylogenetic trees?
  
(A) Taxa
(B) Branches
(C) Nodes
(D) Roots
(E) Clades


2. Which type of evolution describes two different character states that evolved independently from two identical characters?
  
(A) Convergent evolution
(B) Divergent evolution
(C) Stabilizing evolution
(D) Parallel evolution
(E) All of the above


3. Which two features are non-homologous?
  
(A) A pigeon's wing and an eagle's wing
(B) Gills on a fish and gills on a shark
(C) DNA polymerase gene in dogs and cats
(D) The teeth of humans and chimps
(E) All of the above


4. What is a way to display a phylogenetic tree?
  
(A) Cladogram
(B) Phylogram
(C) Unrooted Tree
(D) Chronogram
(E) All of the above


5.
How do you know if DNA is undergoing neutral selection?
  
(A) The ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations is 1
(B) The ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations is negative
(C) The ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations is 2 or more
(D) The DNA has not mutated
(E) DNA cannot undergo neutral selection

Answers

The Origin of Life

1. Which of the following is NOT a potential precursor to RNA? 
(F) DNA
Explanation: DNA arose from RNA, not the other way around.

2. Which of the following is NOT a plausible model for origin of life on Earth?
 
(A) RNA World
(B) Panspermia
(C) Primordial soup
(D) Clay Catalysis
(E) All are plausible models
Explanation: All models potentially could explain how organic matter gave rise to life on Earth. Even though clay catalysis requires a mechanism to synthesize amino acids and nucleotide building blocks, it still explains an important step in the formation of life.

3. Which of the following was NOT included in the Miller-Urey experiment? 
(B) Hydrogen Cyanide
Explanation: In the original experiment, Miller and Urey hypothesized a hot Earth. Hydrogen cyanide is a compound that would form in a freezing cold Earth.

4.
Which of the following is a necessary component of a proto-cell?
(C) Self-replicating ribozyme
Explanation: Only the self-replicating ribozyme is essential for early proto-cell formation. Metabolic ribozymes, such as the proposed ones in (B), (D), and (E) are not essential for proto-cell formation (such functions could be performed by other chemicals). Ribosomes are composed of protein, and would not be a component of a proto-cell.

5.
Which of the following supports an extraterrestrial origin of life?
(A) Certain biomolecules could not be formed in the early Earth environment
Explanation: Uracil and cytosine can only be formed under freezing conditions, not present in the early Earth, and most likely formed on space meteorites.

Taxonomy

1. Which of the following is NOT true about multicellular life?

(C) Must be a plant, animal or fungus
Some multicellular organisms are prokaryotic.

2. Which of the following best describes the eukaryotic domain?
(A) Cells can be 1 mm in size
All other answers define archaea and prokaryotes.

3. Which of the following best describes the prokaryotic domain?
(D) Don't have any organelles
All other answers define eukaryotes and archaea.

4.
Which of the following supports the notion that mitochondria are endosymbionts?
(A) Mitochondria has two membranes
(B) Protein synthesis in mitochondria initiates with N-formylmethionine
(C) Mitochondria has its own circular DNA
(D) Mitochondria has a 70S ribosome
(E) All of the above
All of the answers support the notion that mitochondria are endosymbionts.

5. Which statement is NOT true of the Linnean system of taxonomy?
(B) Orders are composed of groups of classes
Classes are composed of orders, not the other way around.

Life Marches On

1. Which of the following is NOT a type of speciation?
(E) Propatric
Propatric is not a type of speciation.

2. Why is punctuated equilibrium different from saltation?
(B) Punctuated equilibrium is based on gradual acquisitions of mutations while saltation is not
Saltation argues that evolutionary change occurs through major phenotypic "jumps," while punctuated equilibrium argues that this process is more gradual.

3. Which is not a type of selection?
(B) Convergent
Convergent is a type of evolution, where features share function but evolved independently. This does not mean that this function was selectively driven.

4. Which of the following is a non-heritable trait?
(A) Musical skill
Musical skill is the only trait that does is not inherited from parent to offspring.

5. Which is not true of Lamarckian evolution?
(A) It has been universally discredited
Research in epigenetics suggests that DNA modifications can be passed from parent to offspring, and these modifications are developed through experience in a Lamarckian manner.

Macroevolution

1. Which of the following are not found on all phylogenetic trees?
(D) Roots
Some phylogenetic trees are unrooted, meaning they do not have an outgroup. These are usually less informative, but exist because of lack of information on what would be an outgroup.

2.
Which type of evolution describes two different character states that evolved independently from two identical characters?
(B) Divergent evolution
Two different states evolving from two identical states is divergent evolution.

3. Which two features are non-homologous?
(A) A pigeon's wing and an eagle's wing
(B) Gills on a fish and gills on a shark
(C) DNA polymerase gene in dogs and cats
(D) The teeth of humans and chimps
(E) All of the above
All of the above features are similar in function and shared with their common ancestor.

4. What is a way to display a phylogenetic tree?
(A) Cladogram
(B) Phylogram
(C) Unrooted Tree
(D) Chronogram
(E) All of the above
All of the above are ways that phylogenetic trees can be depicted.

5.
How do you know if DNA is undergoing neutral selection?

(A) The ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations is 1
When there are the same numbers of synonymous and non-synomyous mutations, there is no selective pressure and any nucleotide can be mutated. So, when the numbers of mutations is the same, the ratio will be 1.

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