New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Chimpanzee Droppings Lead Scientists to Evolutionary Discovery



Author:

Erica F. Kosal
Department of Biology
North Carolina Wesleyan College
ekosal@ncwc.edu

Abstract:

This interrupted case study focuses on the research of Dr. Beatrice Hahn, who investigates DNA sequences in chimpanzee droppings in order to explore the origins of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Students first consider the types of data that can be gained through collecting chimpanzee feces and studying the behavior of these animals. Students then apply this information to learn more about microevolution when they compare DNA sequences. Finally, students learn about ELISA tests and consider the role of basic and applied science. This case study is appropriate for an introductory biology course for non-majors or majors.

Objectives:
  • Understand the difference between basic and applied science and realize the significance each contributes towards the field of science.
  • Get a sense of the kinds of studies and types of data that can be gathered in the field and gain practice with posing questions and hypotheses.
  • Understand how HIV could have evolved from SIV.
  • Understand that there are alternative hypotheses on the evolution of HIV, but that the most widely accepted hypothesis stems from the zoonosis of SIV to humans and the subsequent evolution into HIV.
  • Be familiar with how HIV is detected in humans.
  • Understand how two genetic sequences can be compared to reveal information about evolutionary relationships.
Keywords: Human immunodeficiency virus; HIV; simian immunodeficiency virus; SIV; retrovirus; primate; ape; chimpanzee; Pan troglodytes troglodyte; microevolution; evolution; selective pressure; antibodies; ELISA; DNA; RNA; zoonosis; infectious disease; pandemic
Topical Area: Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Evolutionary Biology   Molecular Biology   Public Health   Epidemiology   Zoology  
Date Posted: 04/16/08
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


Case teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience and how the case may be taught, a case analysis or answer key, and references.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key


Answer keys provide answers to the questions posed in a case study. Since these questions are intended to be answered by students and are often graded, answer keys are password-protected and access to them is limited to registered instructors.


Username  
Password
  Register  |  Lost Your Password?
 





Name:
Email:
Department:
Institution:
City State:
Comments:
security code
Enter Security Code: