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BO202 Evolution and the Tree of Life Assignment Example NUI Galway Ireland

In this course, we will be exploring key concepts in evolutionary biology including how evolutionary changes occur at the molecular and organismal levels, paleontology as well an introduction to classification and phylogeny. We’ll also cover some major events like when prokaryotic cells started becoming eukaryotic or plants became animals along with Systematics of all sorts – from insects up through mammals. There are no prerequisites, however, an interest in biology is expected.

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Get Assessment Answers of BO202: Evolution and the Tree of Life

In this course, there are many types of assignments given to students like individual assignments, group-based assignments, reports, case studies, final year projects, skills demonstrations, learner records, and other solutions are given by us.

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

Assignment Task 1: Describe natural selection and how it drives evolution

Natural selection is the process by which organisms that are better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring. Over time, this leads to changes in the genetic makeup of a population as those organisms that are best suited for their environment pass on their genes more frequently than others. This is how evolution occurs; it is a gradual change in the genetic makeup of a population over time as those individuals that are most successful at reproduction leave more offspring behind.

The Tree of Life is a visual representation of the evolutionary relationships between all living things. It shows how all life on earth is related and how each species evolved from earlier species over time. The Tree of Life can be used to trace the ancestry of any living creature back to the earliest lifeforms on Earth.

The Tree of Life was first proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859, but it was not until the 1930s that it began to be developed using genetic data. The first professional body of systematists, the International Society of Systematic Biologists, was founded in 1940 with the aim of putting an end to disagreements between systematists about evolutionary relationships by encouraging the collection and classification of data from as many organisms as possible. In 1960, a conference on Advances in Classification and Biology led to a resolution for a more thorough study of the evolutionary history of living things. One result was a new attempt at a universal taxonomy called PhyloCode, which recommends using phylogenetic relationships to classify all forms of life and includes a notation for describing these relationships in terms of trees.

Assignment Task 2: Explain what is meant by evolutionary constraint and evolutionary innovation giving examples

The evolutionary constraint is when an organism has to adapt to its environment in spite of having some characteristics that make it difficult or impossible for the organism to be able to do so. Or the evolutionary constraint is the idea that certain physical limitations or flaws in an organism can prevent it from surviving. For example, imagine a herbivore who eats only grass. If everyone’s favorite prey becomes extinct due to some environmental change, there may be no other available food source despite multiple plants being available. This would lead to the extinction of that herbivore species. This is an example of evolutionary constraint; the physical limitations of the organism prevent it from surviving in the new environment.

Evolutionary innovation, on the other hand, is when an organism evolves a new adaptation that allows it to survive in a new environment. Or, Evolutionary innovation is when an organism changes its behavior or appearance in order to survive in a new environment. For example, imagine a carnivore who starts eating insects. If everyone’s favorite prey becomes extinct, there may now be enough food for this new species to survive. This would lead to the evolution of that carnivore species. This is an example of evolutionary innovation; the organism evolves a new adaptation that allows it to survive in the new environment.

Assignment Task 3: Discuss the evidence for evolution including the fossil record, anatomical and molecular homologies, antibiotic resistance, and pathogenicity

The fossil record is evidence of how life on Earth has changed over time. The fossil record includes the remains or traces of ancient lifeforms, and it can be used to study the evolution of living things. For instance, if fossils of a particular species are found in many different places at certain layers, it tells us that this species was probably widespread at that time. If fossils of several different species are found in the same layer, it tells us that they lived together at that place and time. The fossil record is divided into three main categories:

  • Fossilized remains: This is when an animal or plant dies and its remains or body parts become fossilized.
  • Fossil imprint: This is when an animal’s impression is temporarily left in some type of soft material, such as mud or sand.
  • Trace fossils: This is when an animal leaves evidence that it was there, but no part of the actual organism becomes preserved.

Anatomical and molecular homologies are similarities in different species’ physical characteristics or their genetic makeup. Organisms that have evolved from a common ancestor may have similar anatomical structures, while genetically related organisms may have similar sequences in their DNA. The discovery of these homologies helps to support the theory of evolution by demonstrating how similar traits can be inherited over time.

Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. This happens when the bacteria mutate and develop a gene that allows them to survive in the presence of the antibiotic. The more a particular antibiotic is used, the more likely it is that bacteria will develop resistance to it. This creates a problem for doctors and patients because it makes it more difficult to treat infections.

Pathogenicity is the ability of a microorganism to cause disease. Pathogenic bacteria are able to invade and damage tissues, while pathogenic viruses are able to reproduce in host cells and spread to other cells. The study of pathogenicity helps us to understand how diseases are spread and how they can be treated.

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Assignment Task 4: Consider the origins of the biological components of life, and describe the genetic mechanisms through which different types of evolutionary novelties can arise, including how such mechanisms generate variation in organisms

The origins of the biological components of life are not yet fully understood. The generally accepted theory is that molecules formed when inorganic materials such as carbon dioxide and water interacted with high heat and energy. These organic molecules would become the building blocks of life, and they could interact to create more complex biological structures like cells.

Evolutionary novelties can arise in organisms through a variety of genetic mechanisms. One way is through mutation, which is when a gene randomly changes its sequence. This can lead to the development of new traits, which may be beneficial or harmful to the organism. Another way is through genetic recombination, which is when DNA from two different organisms combines to form a new one. This can lead to entirely new traits.

Another method for generating variation is through gene duplication. When a gene is copied, it creates two identical copies. One of these genes can change or mutate while the other remains unchanged, resulting in two different versions of the same gene. Sometimes the mutation will be beneficial and advantageous, but sometimes it won’t. This can lead to the development of new traits in the organism.

Variation is important for evolution because it allows organisms to adapt to changing environments. New traits give organisms a better chance of surviving and reproducing, which helps them to evolve over time.

Assignment Task 5: Define systematics and explain the different approaches to studying the evolutionary relationships amongst organisms

Systematics is the scientific study of the diversity of life and the relationships between different organisms. There are three main approaches to studying evolutionary relationships: cladistics, phenetics, and molecular phylogenetics.

Cladistics is a method of classification that uses physical characteristics to determine the evolutionary relationships between different species. It relies on the principle of evolution by common descent, which states that all organisms are descended from a common ancestor.

Phenetics is a method of classification that uses overall similarities between different species to determine their evolutionary relationships. It does not rely on the principle of evolution by common descent, and therefore can produce inaccurate results.

Molecular phylogenetics is a method of classification that uses genetic information to determine the evolutionary relationships between different organisms. It relies on the principle of evolution by common descent, which is why it produces results similar to those generated by cladistics

Assignment Task 6: Interpret and describe different types of phylogenetic trees

Phylogenetic trees are diagrams that show the evolutionary relationships between different organisms. There are three main types of phylogenetic trees: cladograms, phenograms, and chronograms.

  1. A cladogram is a type of phylogenetic tree that only shows shared derived characteristics between different species. It does not show any information about when these traits evolved.
  2. A phenogram is a type of phylogenetic tree that only shows overall similarities between different species. It does not show any information about shared primitive or derived characteristics, and it does not indicate when those traits evolved.
  3. A chronogram is a type of phylogenetic tree that shows evolutionary relationships based on an assumed “molecular clock.” This molecular clock is an assumption that mutations in the genetic code occur at a relatively constant rate over time, and can therefore be used to determine when two species diverged from one another.

Assignment Task 7: Discuss how the first prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells emerged

It is believed that the first prokaryotic cells evolved approximately 3.5 billion years ago, and it is generally accepted that eukaryotic cells (cells with a nucleus) evolved from prokaryotic cells over 1 billion years later. The reason that prokaryotic cells evolved first is still unknown, but it is thought that they may be more adaptable to changing environments. Eukaryotic cells are thought to have evolved because they are better able to store genetic information, which allows them to undergo more complex cellular processes.

Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms whose genetic material is not separated by membranes into a nucleus. They include bacteria and archaea, which are some of the most abundant groups of organisms on Earth. Prokaryotes developed before eukaryotes because all prokaryotes are descended from a common ancestor, while eukaryotes evolved much later.

Eukaryotic cells are classified based on their organelles, which are structures that perform specific functions within the cell. Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus, which contains the genetic material of the cell, and also includes other organelles such as mitochondria, which generate energy for the cell, and chloroplasts, which enable photosynthesis. The first eukaryotic cells were probably multicellular and were bigger than their prokaryotic predecessors.

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Assignment Task 8: Outline and describe the major groups of microbes

There are three major groups of microbes: bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes.

Bacteria are prokaryotic cells that lack a nucleus and other organelles. They are the most common type of microbe on Earth and can be found in almost every environment.

Archaea are also prokaryotic cells that lack a nucleus but are more closely related to eukaryotes than bacteria. They are the most common type of microbe found in extreme environments, which include very hot or cold temperatures, high salt concentrations, and highly acidic conditions.

Eukaryotic cells are cells with membranes surrounding their nuclei. They contain organelles that bacteria and archaea do not have, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts. Eukaryotes include all multicellular organisms, as well as some single-celled protists.

Assignment Task 9: Describe the basis of cellular and evolutionary diversity in eukaryotic organisms, using examples from the fungal kingdom

Eukaryotic cells are structurally and functionally diverse because they can incorporate genetic material from different sources. This process, called recombination, results in cells that are adapted to specific environmental conditions.

Fungi are a good example of the diversity of eukaryotic cells. Fungi are distinguished from other eukaryotes by their unique cell wall, which is made of chitin. Fungi also have a variety of other cellular features that are not found in other eukaryotes, such as the ability to produce sexual and asexual spores. Fungi are found in many different environments, and some species can cause serious diseases in humans and other organisms.

Fungal diversity is just one example of the diversity that eukaryotic cells can produce. Two other examples are multicellular organisms, which have different shapes and are adapted to very different environments, and single-celled protists, which include both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic cells.

Assignment Task 10: Discuss major events in the evolution of animals

Animals are eukaryotic organisms that evolved from single-celled ancestors over 600 million years ago. The first animals evolved in the sea around 1 billion years ago and were probably flat, worm-like creatures that lacked tissues. Over time, these animals became more complex and developed specialized organ systems to better survive in their environment.

The first animals to invade land were the amphibians, which evolved around 350 million years ago. Amphibians are able to live on both land and in water and include such well-known animals as frogs and salamanders. The first mammals evolved around 200 million years ago and were small, nocturnal creatures that lived in trees.

The first birds evolved from small, feathered dinosaurs about 150 million years ago. The first humans evolved from African apes about 5 million years ago.

The evolution of animals is a complex process that is still being studied by scientists. Each new discovery adds to our understanding of how animals have changed and adapted over time. Animals are an important part of the Earth’s ecosystems and play a vital role in the maintenance of global biodiversity.

Assignment Task 11: Outline and discuss the major groups of animals

All animals are multicellular eukaryotic organisms, but they are divided into distinct groups based on their body plan. These groups include invertebrates (animals without a backbone), chordates (animals with a nerve cord), and vertebrates (animals with backbones).

Invertebrates make up the vast majority of animal species and can be divided into two groups: arthropods, such as crustaceans and insects, and mollusks, such as snails and clams. Although they have very different body plans, these groups have a few important characteristics in common. All invertebrates have a rigid outer shell or exoskeleton that provides protection and support. The presence of appendages, which are specialized structures attached to the main body, is another characteristic that all invertebrates share.

Chordates are a small group of animals that includes vertebrates and a few invertebrate species. The vertebrates are distinguished from all other chordates by their ability to develop a backbone or spinal cord. This feature gives vertebrates their characteristic body shape and allows them to move around more easily.

Vertebrates can be divided into four main groups: fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Each group has unique adaptations that allow them to live in a specific environment. For example, fish are adapted to live in water, amphibians can live on both land and in water, reptiles are adapted to live on land, and birds are adapted to fly in the air.

Assignment Task 12: Describe and understand the key evolutionary innovations that emerged in the plant lineage since it separated from other lineages

A plant lineage is a group of eukaryotic organisms that evolved from green algae over 1 billion years ago. Green algae are photosynthetic cells that use sunlight to produce energy from sugar. Plants are similar to green algae, but they have a few important innovations that allow them to survive in a different environment.

One of the most important innovations in the plant lineage is the development of a cell wall. This tough outer layer protects plants from predators and parasites and allows them to grow in a variety of environments. Plants also developed the ability to produce their own food through photosynthesis, which allows them to live independently of other organisms.

The evolution of plants has had a major impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. Plants are essential for the survival of all animals and provide food, shelter, and oxygen to living creatures. They also play a vital role in the global carbon cycle and help to regulate the Earth’s climate.

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