Meeting Abstract

S4-1.6  Friday, Jan. 4  Synergistic Evolutionary LEarning Consortium: evolution in acTION: A NESCent Working Group JUNGCK, John R*; WEISSTEIN, Anton; Beloit College/BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium; Truman State University/BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium jungck@beloit.edu

The Synergistic Evolutionary LEarning Consortium: Evolution in AcTION, a “Working Group” of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, is implementing applied evolutionary research in undergraduate biology education. Members of the working group include the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, scientific specialists, and science education researchers. Evolutionary research is engaged with many contemporary human problems in ways that are seldom included in current undergraduate biology education. Examples include: the development of vaccines for newly emerging infectious diseases (SARS, AIDS, Asian bird flu, etc.); design of pharmaceutical drugs; clinical use of chemotherapy to determine whether treatment will be efficacious or nontoxic for a specific patient; development to resistance to extensively used biocides (antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides); prevention of destruction to our environment by invasive species; use of index fossils to identify energy reserves; simulation of locomotion of diverse species (living and extinct) to understand human biomechanics and construct better protheses; improvement in the yield and quality of crops (food, fuel, fragrances, fiber) and livestock; sustainable management of national parks, forest, prairie, and coral reef preserves, and international heritage sites; and, preservation of endangered species and biodiversity, in general. Databases of primary research data on each of these issues will be constructed in a fashion that let student test evolutionary hypotheses by importing the data into statistical packages, spreadsheets, phylogenetic software, and modeling programs.