Week 32 – Creating Phylogenetic Trees from DNA Sequences

For our final piece of work for this week’s lesson, you will engage in the process of constructing a phylogenetic tree using DNA sequences.  Darwin constructed a phylogenetic tree of the various finch species he encountered in the Galapagos Islands by comparing various physical traits shared by the different species, scientists today construct phylogenetic trees by comparing DNA sequences.  The more similar the DNA sequences, the closer together two species would be on a phlyogenetic tree.  With the move to using DNA sequence-based phylogenetic trees, scientists have a new tool to understand evolution and this has resulted in a number of changes to the what we previously though in terms of the evolutionary relationships between species.

  1. Visit the HHMI Creating Phylogenetic Trees from DNA Sequences (available in both English and Spanish)
  2. Work through the Click and Learn activity (available in both English and Spanish), adding a new section to your Week 32 Google Doc (section title: Creating Phylogenetic Trees from DNA Sequences).
  3. Bonus Activity (not required, but awesome): Watch the video below and see if you can construct a phylogenetic tree using real DNA sequences!


Return to the Week 32 – Phylogenetic Trees post and continue our work for the week.

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