The first exam will be Thursday, March 14. If you will be absent that day, e-mail me by the end of the day on Thursday, March 7, so that we can schedule your makeup exam.
You may not use your notes during the exam. You will not need a calculator.
The exam will consist of about 15 questions. Each of your answers should consist of one or two sentences. You will get points off for writing long, rambling answers that say the same thing over and over.
Here are some practice questions. Try answering them, then highlight the invisible text inside the red box (drag your cursor across it) to see my answer.
1. Based on their similar size, short tails, and cute noses, you think that guinea pigs and rabbits are more closely related to each other than they are to rats and mice. How would you test this hypothesis? What result would be consistent with your hypothesis?
2. DNA polymerase is an important protein involved in replicating DNA during reproduction. One DNA polymerase protein in the bacterium Escherichia coli is 351 amino acids long; here is its sequence, using the single-letter amino acid abbreviations:
>gi|89107104|ref|AP_000884.1| DNA polymerase IV [Escherichia coli W3110] MRKIIHVDMDCFFAAVEMRDNPALRDIPIAIGGSRERRGVISTANYPARKFGVRSAMPTGMALKLCPHLT LLPGRFDAYKEASNHIREIFSRYTSRIEPLSLDEAYLDVTDSVHCHGSATLIAQEIRQTIFNELQLTASA GVAPVKFLAKIASDMNKPNGQFVITPAEVPAFLQTLPLAKIPGVGKVSAAKLEAMGLRTCGDVQKCDLVM LLKRFGKFGRILWERSQGIDERDVNSERLRKSVGVERTMAEDIHHWSECEAIIERLYPELERRLAKVKPD LLIARQGVKLKFDDFQQTTQEHVWPRLNKADLIATARKTWDERRGGRGVRLVGLHVTLLDPQMERQLVLG L
If you put amino acids together randomly, the probability that a random molecule would have this sequence is 1/20351. This is such a ridiculously small number that if the whole universe were made of amino acids, randomly associating into new molecules every second for the last 13 billion years, this sequence would never have occurred. Creationists use this kind of calculation to argue that life could not have originated by random, natural processes. What's wrong with their argument?
3. You've decided to write your term paper about ammonites. What are the three most important things you would do to find scientific literature about ammonites?
4. You are trying to estimate the phylogeny of several species of pine trees in the genus Pinus. You sequence the RBCL gene in a white pine, lodgepole pine, yellow pine, bristlecone pine, and pitch pine. You also sequence the RBCL gene in a blue spruce, Picea pungens. You analyze your data on RBCL in pines using the neighbor-joining technique and it gives you the tree on the left, while the maximum likelihood technique gives you the tree on the right. What do you conclude about the relationship of white pine, yellow pine, and pitch pine? What should you do next?
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This page was last revised February 25, 2013. Its URL is http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/495studyguide1.html