Inferring Evolutionary Relationships from Sequencing Data

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This webquest guides students through a basic phylogenetics investigation using sequences from online databases and free, open source tools.  The activity is designed to be completed in a single 75 minute block.  SeaView and Fig Tree should be preinstalled on computers before class begins.  If time is limited, consider downloading a selection of sequence files for several virus proteins in advance.


This webquest addresses the following standards, from the AP Biology course and exam description:

Essential knowledge 1.B.2: Phylogenetic trees and cladograms are graphical representations (models) of evolutionary history that can be tested.

Learning Objective 1.17: The student is able to pose scientific questions about a group of organisms whose relatedness is described by a phylogenetic tree or cladogram in order to (1) identify shared characteristics, (2) make inferences about the evolutionary history of the group, and (3) identify character data that could extend or improve the phylogenetic tree.


3D models of viruses used in webquest images obtained from Visual Science.

Visual Science (2014). Visual science: Visualization, communication and education. Retrieved from https://www.visual-science.com

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