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ERIC Number: EJ1044377
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
A Novel Laboratory Activity for Teaching about the Evolution of Multicellularity
Ratcliff, William C.; Raney, Allison; Westreich, Sam; Cotner, Sehoya
American Biology Teacher, v76 n2 p81-87 Feb 2014
The evolution of complexity remains one of the most challenging topics in biology to teach effectively. We present a novel laboratory activity, modeled on a recent experimental breakthrough, in which students experimentally evolve simple multicellularity using single-celled yeast ("Saccharomyces cerevisiae"). By simply selecting for faster settling through liquid media, yeast evolve to form snowflakeshaped multicelled clusters that continue to evolve as multicellular individuals. We present core experimental and curriculum tools, including discussion topics and assessment instruments, and provide suggestions for teacher customization. Prelab and postlab assessments demonstrate that this lab effectively teaches fundamental concepts about the transition to multicellularity. Yeast strains, the student lab manual, and an introductory presentation are available free of charge.
University of California Press. 2000 Center Street Suite 303, Berkeley, CA 94704. Tel: 510-643-7154; Fax: 510-642-9917; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: DEB-1051115