Funky Pigeons

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These post-16 lesson plans look at Darwin’s pigeon breeding experiments and how they revealed the biology of inheritance and selection. Students will:

  • Compare natural and artificial selection and be able to critically explain the difference between the two.
  • Explore how Darwin used selective breeding to develop his model of species change.
  • Investigate Mendelian genetics in the context of Darwin’s pigeon breeding experiments and solve genetic problems.
  • Investigate the effect of interactions between genetic loci in the context of Darwin’s breeding experiments and solve genetic problems involving epistasis.
  • Apply a statistical test to genetic data.
  • Investigate the contribution of human activity on selection pressures.
  • Investigate the role that geographical and reproductive isolation may play in the development of a new species and critically evaluate authentic data supporting speciation.
  • Explain the effect inbreeding, immigration and genetic drift may have on gene allele frequencies.

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