Evolution Key Concepts
• The mechanisms through which evolution takes place are a related set of processes that include mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and extinction.
• Mutations are inheritable changes because a mutation is a change in the DNA code.
• Adaptations are structures, functions, or behaviors that enable a species to survive.
• A mutation may result in a favorable change or adaptation in genetic information that improves a species' ability to exist in its environment, or a mutation may result in an unfavorable change that does not improve or impedes a species' ability to exist in its environment.
• Individuals of a population exhibit a range of variations in a trait as a result of the variations in their genetic codes.
• The evidence for evolution is drawn from a variety of sources of data, including the fossil record, radiometric dating, genetic information, the distribution of organisms, and anatomical and developmental similarities across species.
• Natural selection is the survival and reproduction of the individuals in a population that exhibit the traits that best enable them to survive in their environment.
• If a species does not include traits that enable it to survive in its environment or to survive changes in the environment, then the species may become extinct.
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