Evolution of Skin Color

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December 7, 2019
December 7, 2019

Evolution of Skin Color

This assignment will explore evolution in humans. First you will learn about the main concepts of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection by examining the evolution of humans from our ancestral hominids then you will look at the evolution of skin color in humans and address this main question:

How does the evolution of skin color support the theory of evolution by natural selection?

Step 1: Multimedia Resources

Go through the 2017 DE Slides Evolution by Natural Selection for Bio20 Preview the document It is a pdf with notes (the narrated version wasn’t working) so the hyperlinks to the videos won’t work. Instead here are the links that you can click on at the appropriate spot. Stop and watch them and address the guided questions as a form of note taking. The 3 videos in order are: Exploring Your Inner Monkey (Links to an external site.), Rock Pocket Mouse (Links to an external site.) and the Biology of Skin Color

After you have watched the video on the evolution of skin color, make sure you can answer this question:

Evolution is the change in allele frequencies in populations over time. How did the gene frequencies that control skin color change over time?

Step 2:
Now read the following supplemental articles by clicking on the following hyperlinks. Use the bullets to guide your reading to reinforce the key concepts of evolution of skin color.

Read the Background Info on Skin Color Evolution? PDF filePreview the document

· How does melanin determine skin color?

· How does melanin typically respond to ultraviolet radiation?

· Besides melanoma, what other conditions does melanin shield against?

· Why is some shortwave ultraviolet radiation (UVB) exposure important?

· Historically, in what regions of the world have dark- and light-skinned people lived?

Read the Balancing act PDF File” Preview the document

· How does the process of natural selection influence skin color?

· What is unique about the Eskimos of Alaska in terms of skin color?

· Are dark-skinned people at an advantage or disadvantage in northern latitudes? Why?

STEP 3: Write Up
Write an essay (minimum 450 words) that addresses the following question:

How does the evolution of skin color support the theory of evolution by natural selection?

Your analysis should include:

· overview of the theory of evolution by natural selection

· the role of mutations

· details of the evolution of skin color with examples that describe the change in specific genes as well as the role of UVB, folate and vitamin D in this evolution.

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