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Originally the United States Supreme Court was conceived to be the weakest of the three branches of government. Owing to Marbury v. Madison and the power of judicial review, it has evolved into a very powerful policy making body. Some in America today lament this. They believe that, because the members of the court are not elected, the court should not have so much say over what the laws should be. Remember, as Pro-Life and Pro-Choice activists continually remind us, the right to an abortion was created by the case of Roe v. Wade in 1973, and the right to an abortion was taken away by the court in 2022. Congress has never passed a law making abortion legal.

What do you think? Is the court too powerful relative to the elected branches of government that represent the people?




WATCH VIDEO to answer questions

1. Explain two structural ways DNA and RNA are different.

2. How is base-pairing different in RNA and DNA?

3. If one nucleotide were transcribed incorrectly or omitted, how would it affect the overall structure of the protein? Create an example sequence of mRNA and proteins (using the codon chart) to demonstrate.


Head over to
Complete the tutorial of transcribing and translating a gene
Take a screenshot or photo at the end of transcription and the end of translation. You will turn these in at the end of the lab.

Were both pieces of DNA used during transcription?
How is the mRNA molecule built?
What happens to the mRNA once it has been completed?
What organelle catalyzes the peptide bonds between amino acids?
How would you describe the sequence of bases on the mRNA compared to those on the tRNA?
What happens to the tRNA molecules after their amino acid that was attached to them has been added to the growing polypeptide?




Define “mutation.”
Is the following statement true or false? Justify your answer in 1-2 sentences: “Mutations are caused by selective pressure in the environment.”
Why did the dark colored mice living on dark lava flows have white underbellies?
Is the following statement true or false? Justify your answer in one or two sentences: “The same mutation could be advantageous in some environments but deleterious in others.”
Is the following statement true or false? Justify your answer in one or two sentences: “The appearance of dark colored volcanic rock caused the mutation for black fur to appear in the rock pocket mouse population.”
Explain how the environment plays a role in changing the frequency of an allele.
As you saw in the film, rock pocket mice evolved to have dark-colored fur in certain habitats. In three to five sentences, explain how this trait increased in frequency in the population. Include the following key terms: “fitness” (or “fit”), “survival” (or “survive”), “selection” (or “selective”), and “evolution” (or “evolve”).
Near the end of the video Dr. Nachman collected and compared dark mice from two different lava flows. Explain how this comparison demonstrated that mutations are random, but natural selection is not.
Imagine a scenario where the rock pocket mice living on a lava flow become physically isolated from those living on the desert sand by a river or a canyon. This would mean there are two geographically separate populations with no gene flow Links to an external site.between the two. What would happen to these two populations after a long period of time?
Did the individual mice evolve? Explain.


Watch the video above about the ESA and answer the following questions in your lab notebook
Who was the president in 1973 and signed the ESA into law?
What caused the population decline of the bald eagle about 10 years prior to the ESA becoming law?
Is the bald eagle still listed as endangered? How many pairs of bald eagles were there in 2007?
What other species was brought back from the brink of extinction? Describe what caused this species to decline, and how it was brought back.
Think about it & dig deeper: What competing interests do federal agencies like the US Fish and Wildlife have to work with and take into account when establishing habitat preserves for endangered species? What other purposes could that land serve?

Answer the following questions in your lab notebook
Why is it important to have international regulations for protecting endangered species?
How would allowing a market for elephant ivory in the United States, for example, endanger this species?
For those of us living in the United States, why would it matter if species in other continents or other countries are allowed to go extinct?


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