AP Biology : Evolution and Genetics

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Evolution And Genetics

Who of the following scientists would postulate that giraffes have long necks because they wanted to eat the leaves of tall trees?

Possible Answers:

Leeuwenhoek 

Salk

Watson & Crick

Lamarck

Darwin

Correct answer:

Lamarck

Explanation:

Lamarck theorized that animals evolved into new forms based on need or utility, and thus he is the correct answer for this question.

Darwin was the father of the theory of evolution by natural selection (along with Alfred Russell Wallace), Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA (along with Rosalind Franklin), Leeuwenhoek pioneered microscopy, and Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine, so none of those are correct.

Example Question #2 : Theorists And Evidence

Which of the following theories representing Lamarckian evolution is false?

Possible Answers:

Theory of genetic chance

All of the choices are correct

Inheritance of acquired characteristics

Principle of use and disuse

Correct answer:

Theory of genetic chance

Explanation:

The principal of use and disuse suggests that organs you use get bigger while those you don't use get smaller or even disappear entirely. Inheritance of acquired characteristics sugegsts that proficiencies and traits can be passed down to succeeding generations. Lamarckian evolution is largely based on these two ideals.

Theory of genetic chance is not a real foundation of Lamarckian evolution.

Example Question #3 : Theorists And Evidence

The French scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck studied heritability and proposed the "theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics." With which statement would Lamarck most likely agree?

Possible Answers:

Rabbits with fur color that closely resembles the environment will survive to have young, while rabbits with more noticeable coloring will die before having offspring

A bird population might have a greater proportion of members with large beaks if large beak size is selected for by the environment

An average man develops powerful arms from his job working in a factory; his children will be born with unusually high arm strength

The skills that an organism perfects during its lifespan have little to no effect on the ability of its offspring to perform those same skills

Most species develop new characteristics over periods of millions of years

Correct answer:

An average man develops powerful arms from his job working in a factory; his children will be born with unusually high arm strength

Explanation:

The theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics was one of the earliest theories of evolution. Lamarck believed that traits were passed down to offspring when the parent showed increased use of those traits, and that traits that were not used by the parent were not inherited. The most common example of this "use and disuse" idea was a giraffe that, during its lifetime, often stretched its neck to reach leaves, and thus had a greater number of offspring with long necks.

This theory was shown to be incorrect in favor of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Use or disuse during an organism's lifespan is not the driving force of evolution.

Example Question #4 : Theorists And Evidence

Which of the following scientists hypothesized that organisms can pass down traits acquired during their lifetimes?

Possible Answers:

Charles Darwin 

Carolus Linnaeus

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

Gregor Mendel

Correct answer:

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

Explanation:

Lamarck hypothesized, amongst other things, that organisms could pass down traits acquired during life from generation to generation. Under Lamarck's theory of use and disuse, a man who worked in a factory and developed strong arms would pass the strong arms trait to his offspring. This hypothesis has largely been rejected by modern genetics.

Gregor Mendel is the founder of modern genetics, developing our modern understanding of allelic inheritance. Charles Darwin developed important theories about evolution and natural selection. Carolus Linnaeus is best remembered for establishing binomial nomenclature, the system used today to officially name organisms.

Example Question #5 : Theorists And Evidence

What are parts of Lamarck’s theory of evolution?

Possible Answers:

Individuals gain characteristics they need

Individuals lose traits that they don't need

All of these

Acquired characteristics are heritable

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was an evolutionary theorist who was rejected by Charles Darwin. In his theory, Lamarck supported the idea that individuals could pass down acquired characteristics to their offspring, and that they lost un-needed traits and gained useful traits. The most recent theory of evolution, like Charles Darwin, rejects these claim.

Example Question #6 : Theorists And Evidence

Lamarck’s ideas on biological evolution contained correct and incorrect notions. Which of his ideas is correct?

Possible Answers:

Nervous fluids are passed on from generation to generation

Living forms become perfect with time

Evolution is related to changes in adaptation to the environment

Acquired traits can be passed on to offspring

Correct answer:

Evolution is related to changes in adaptation to the environment

Explanation:

While Lamarck had many revolutionary ideas on evolution, his most correct assumption was the importance of environmental changes on evolutionary adaptations. His theories on the inheritance of acquired traits and essentialsm do not fit into our current knowledge of evolution, DNA, and inheritance.

Example Question #1 : Understanding Mendel

What concept did Gregor Mendel contribute to biology?

Possible Answers:

Theory of Evolution

Postulate of Inheritance of Acquired Traits

Principle of Independent Assortment

Law of Population Genetics

Correct answer:

Principle of Independent Assortment

Explanation:

Mendel is considered the father of modern genetics and did extensive research on genetic heritability, alleles, and inheritance. His main research was performed on drosophila (flies) and pea plants. Mendel's discoveries helped shape our understanding of how genes are inherited and expressed. One of his theories outlines the idea that chromosomes do not align by paternal and maternal segregation during tetrad formation in meiosis, but are organized independent of their parental origin. This theory is known as the Principle of Independent Assortment.

The Law of Population Genetics was developed by Hardy and Weinberg. Charles Darwin created the Theory of Evolution. Lamarck created the Postulate of Inheritance of Acquired Traits.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Mendel

Mendel originally proposed the idea of a "factor" that controls phenotype and comes in a recessive and a dominant form. Which of the following modern terms most aptly describe Mendel's "factors"?

Possible Answers:

Chromosome

Gene

Centromere

Chromatin

Correct answer:

Gene

Explanation:

Mendel's "factors" are today's genes. From his limited knowledge of cell biology, Mendel was able to observe the effects of genes by observing phenotype. Genes come in multiple forms, known today as alleles, which control dominant and recessive inheritance.

Chromatin is the term used to describe DNA packaged by proteins. Centromeres are the area of chromosomes where sister chromatids are attached. Chromosomes would not be an acceptable description of a "factor" because it is the specific gene that controls the phenotype, not the entire chromosome.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Mendel

Which of the given disorders follows classical Mendelian inheritance?

Possible Answers:

Down Syndrome

Type I diabetes

Fragile X Syndrome

Cystic fibrosis

Correct answer:

Cystic fibrosis

Explanation:

Cystic fibrosis occurs in individuals who are homozygous recessive for a single gene, following Mendelian inheritance patterns.

Down Syndrome is caused by a trisomy and is not conferred via a specific allele. The disorder is the result of a nondisjunction event during meiosis. Fragile X Syndrome occurs when a portion of the X-chromosome in men is extended due to dozens or hundreds of repeats. The number of repeats changes between generations, making this non-Mendelian. Type I diabetes is most often caused by a poorly understood autoimmune condition, wherein the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production. The underlying autoimmune response is thought to be partially genetic and partially environmental.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Mendel

Which of the following is NOT a reason that Gregor Mendel chose to work with pea plants?

Possible Answers:

Pea plants have a relatively short intergenerational time

Pea plants can be selectively cross-pollinated

Pea plants produce a large number of offspring per generation

Pea plants can be used to study both somatic and sex-linked traits

Correct answer:

Pea plants can be used to study both somatic and sex-linked traits

Explanation:

Pea plants reproduce quickly and in large numbers. They can self-pollinate within a single plant, they can be cross-pollinated by insection, and they can be selectively cross-pollinated using a tool such as a cotton swab. Pea plants contain separate male and female parts, but each plant contains both. Sex-linked traits cannot be studied in organisms that do not have clearly separate male and female members. Phenotypically, there are no male and female members of the pea plant species, making it impossible to track traits that follow sex-linked expression.

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