Standard LS.14
VDOE - Revised 2003 Standards

Standard LS.14
The student will investigate and understand that organisms change over time. Key concepts include
a) the relationships of mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and extinction;
b) evidence of evolution of different species in the fossil record; and
c) how environmental influences, as well as genetic variation, can lead to diversity of organisms.

Overview / 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.

Knowledge & Skills

• explain how genetic variations in offspring, which lead to variations in successive generations, can result from the same two parents..

• describe how changes in the environment can bring about changes in species through natural selection, adaptation, and extinction.

• describe and explain how fossils are records of organisms and events in the Earth’s history.

• explain the evidence for evolution from a variety of sources of scientific data.

• analyze and evaluate data from investigations on variations within a local population.

• interpret data from simulations that demonstrate selection for a trait belonging to species in various environments.