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Something’s Fishy in Paxton Lake
by Joan Sharp

Yesterday [05/08/2006] I was teaching my Genetics course and finishing up our work on molecular evolution. At the end of the class period, one of the seniors, a student who’s going to graduate next Saturday and go to physical therapy school, wanted to ask what he thought might be an “irrelevant” question. He wanted to know how the material we were dealing with related to the stickleback speciation case—a case that he and his classmates had encountered in the fall of their freshman year! He said it had always bugged him that speciation was a messier event than “Bingo! A new species is here!,” and he wanted to know how/if the sequence alignments and phylogenetic relationships we were looking at could give us insight into speciation.

I would never have imagined that this student (or most any student) would have remembered and cared about a case study for so long. It’s a great testimonial to the effectiveness of that case, and to the effectiveness of getting out of lecture mode frequently and regularly.

Comments submitted 05/09/2006 by:

Robin Pals-Rylaarsdam, Associate Professor of Biology
Trinity Christian College
6601 West College Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60463