Why It Matters: Theory of Evolution

Why explain the theory of evolution, which documents the change in the genetic makeup of a biological population over time?

The theory of evolution began as a revolutionary idea, but it remains central to the study of biology. Evolution is the unifying concept in biology. This theory documents the change in the genetic makeup of a biological population over time. Evolution helps us understand the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and other parasitic organisms. The following are just a few of the antibiotic resistant “bugs” plaguing humans.

  • Antibiotic-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB)
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
  • Multidrug-Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gonorrhea)

Learn More

You can also check out the NIH’s website about antimicrobial resistance for more information.

Ok, let’s go look at the history of life!

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the work of Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands, especially his discovery of natural selection in finch populations.
  • Describe how the theory of evolution by natural selection is supported by evidence.
  • Recognize that mutations are the basis of microevolution; and that adaptations enhance the survival and reproduction of individuals in a population.
  • Read and analyze a phylogenetic tree that documents evolutionary relationships.