Each of the websites and specific links below are suitable for an advanced biology teacher and/or student. The sites are for preparation not memorization. They are a supplement, not a replacement, for the official text. They are provided for those teachers and their students who frequently request additional resources for Biology Olympiad study. Many teachers and their students wish to explore an particular area more deeply, review a topic from a different perspective or have access to additional problem sets. Each Biology Olympiad exam will have 20% of the questions devoted to Genetics and Evolution. Questions from prior years are never exactly duplicated.
Access Excellence: A basic introductory site.
USABO students should focus on the Graphics Gallery:
- http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/VL/GG/index.html Graphics Gallery is a series of labeled diagrams with explanations representing the important processes of biotechnology. Each diagram is followed by a summary of information, providing a context for the process illustrated. The student chooses an area for review. Students do not need to open every diagram, but it is an excellent resource for diagrams that may be scattered across a variety of texts. Almost every diagram listed is considered necessary for the IBO. (The Biochemistry and Cell Processes sections also match IBO guidelines and will be cited again.)
Genetic Science Learning Center: High School level
Of particular use to the USABO participants are:
- Transcribe and Build a Gene: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/units/basics/transcribe/
A basic animation that is similar to questions asked on USABO and IBO exams. Students can practice with an almost infinite number of combinations.
- Gel Electrophoresis Introduction: Not necessary for those with actual lab access. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/units/biotech/gel/
Excellent beginning for the student learning about gel electrophoresis for the first time. This is an essential USABO and IBO skill.
A Science Primer for Biotechnology from the National Center for Biotechnology Information – Transition to undergraduate level.
Should be read by USABO students as a transition from secondary to undergraduate level definitions. The fact sheets are succinct. They move from a basic definition to an excellent undergraduate level summary of how this technology is applied in research.
The DNA Learning Center is sponsored by Cold Spring Harbor : Undergraduate
While this site has many tutorials that could be of use to USABO students, two advanced tutorials are particularly notable:
- Mitochondrial (mt) Point Mutations: http://www.geneticorigins.org/geneticorigins/mito/mitoframeset.htm
These are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) detected in the ring-shaped chromosome found in the cell’s energy-producing organelle. Mutations are common in mt DNA, in large part due to exposure to oxygen free radicals generated as a by-product of respiration. Mitochondrial mutations can be used to retrace the common maternal lineage of modern humans and to determine our relationship to the extinct hominid Neanderthal.
- Alu Insertion Polymorphism: http://www.geneticorigins.org/geneticorigins/pv92/aluframeset.htm detects the presence or absence of a “jumping gene” on chromosome 16. This simple genetic system has only two alleles and three genotypes. Despite this simplicity, allele frequencies vary greatly in different world populations. Alternate explanations about the causes of this variation are consistent with opposing theories of the origins of modern humans.
BioInteractive sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute
BioInteractive, is a collection of virtual labs, biological animations and other learning modules and an online laboratory safety training program. USABO recommends the two of the virtual labs for cell biology and genetics. Students are welcome to explore the other resources as they have time.
Transgenic Fly Lab: http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/index.html
Plant genetics and biosystematics: http://www.greenomes.org/
The focus is on Arabidopsis genetics and experiments.
This site includes a section on pedigree problems that provides excellent practice.
Gene linkage and genetic maps explained and sample problems and solutions provided.
http://morgan.rutgers.edu/MorganWebFrames/How_to_use/HTU_Frameset.htmlExcellent multi-level tutorial. From beginners to advanced. Requires a free registration.
http://w3.dwm.ks.edu.tw/bio/activelearner/18/ch18c1.html The five principles
http://science.nhmccd.edu/BioL/hwe.html Problem sets
Mechanism of evolution
Synthetic Theory of Modern Evolution
Includes quizzes, flashcards, crossword puzzles, review of traditional evolutionary concepts and further Hardy-Weinberg problems. Suited for the open and semi-final exams.
Evolution 101: A site for teachers but excellent for the USABO student
Students often struggle with reading a phylogeny, distinguishing clades, or relating a branch point to the correct evolutionary concept. This site provides an excellent tutorial. There are separate tutorials on microevolution, macroevolution and speciation as well. This level would possibly be in the semi-final and definitely in the final exams.
Bioinformatics: Frequently used term with an evolving definition.
An excellent site detailing Research, Development, Education and Forums regarding Bioinformatics. On this site you scroll to contents, you find a topic of interest and then click to jump to the full explanation. Considerable information is available without a login or membership, however freemembership is available to BiO.
A site associated with the Human Genome Project and typical of the high standards of this project. This page provides a brief introduction suitable for high school, while the links are only for professionals. The one review article provides fascinating background for the mathematically astute.
Molecular biology, gene regulation, Mendelian genetics, recombinant DNA and so forth
MIT Introduction to Biology: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Biology/
The Introductory Biology courses (7.012, 7.013 and 7.014) and associated problem sets are for the academically advanced student. See any of the three courses for additional information. Watching a lecture is an excellent way to gain insight into the connections between the concepts. You may choose your favorite professor such as Eric Lander, (Homework: look him up in Campbell or the web).
Not everything is DNA in the World of Genetics and Evolution
RNA Interference for Gene Silencing
In 2006 we asked a single question on RNAi. ~99% missed it.
http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/rna/rnadiversity/index.htmlOutlining the diversity of RNA: mRNA, tRNA, RNAi, ribozymes, ribonuclease P, ribosome, siRNA.
“Just as nucleic acids can carry out enzymatic reactions, proteins can be genes.”
For open and semi-final exams read:
Focus on the concept not the details. Know that proteins can act as genes.
Prion Diseases and BSE Crisis: Classic article found everywhere. http://chekhov.cs.vt.edu/2006/papers/PrusnerSciencePrions.pdf
Advanced reading, only required for finalists.
Human Genome Project: Exploring Our Molecular Selves – Historical
This site is for teachers who incorporate historical perspectives into lesson plans.
Genes, Variation and History: Review of Genetics & Evolution
How to Sequence a Genome: Brief, well-written summary with each step explained. http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Education/Kit/main.cfm?pageid=92
Just for fun and interest
Three current “Findings” from the NIH and crossword puzzles based on these articles.