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Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution

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SESSION 5: How Did Humans Evolve? Is Evolution Still Happening?

Elaborate Part C: Antibiotics and Drug-Resistant Microbes

Screen grab from the Microbe Clock Web activity showing a timer.

Cultural adaptations of humans can far outpace their genetic changes. But microbes are a significant challenge for humans. Explore the Microbe Clock Web activity and consider:

What is the significance of the rate of mutation in microbes versus humans for natural selection?

Microbe Clock

Use and misuse of antibiotics has spurred the evolution of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia, gonorrhea, and other infectious diseases. Watch the Video for Students: "Why Does Evolution Matter Now?" and then explore the Web roundtable, The Evolving Enemy, to learn what we can do to reduce antibiotic resistance.

 Image of TB cells.

Why Does Evolution
Matter Now?

View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

Scientists are using evolutionary concepts to explain why some viruses and bacteria are highly virulent while others live in their hosts with few if any ill effects. Watch the Evolution Show Four video segments "Cholera: Domesticating Disease" and "Double Immunity."

Image of people standing next to a hose with water gushing out.  Image of a hand on an arm.

Domesticating Disease

View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

Double Immunity
View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

Now answer the following questions:


How does an understanding of evolution help doctors manage infectious diseases?


What factors affect the evolution of disease organisms to become more virulent?


What are some examples of humans coevolving with disease microbes?


What evolutionary changes might cause an epidemic in humans?



Facilitator Note 3


Next: Elaborate Part D: Human Influence on Evolution

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