• Evolution Key Concepts

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    • 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.