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Discussion Questions

This page contains resource questions and discussion points designed to further conversation on the subject of Pacific migration and human settlement of the Pacific.


1. Scientists talk about coding and non-coding DNA. What do these terms mean? 


2. Mitochondrial DNA is often used to establish evolutionary relationships. What is the difference between mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA? Explain the advantages of using mitochondrial DNA when studying evolutionary relationships.


3. What is a phylogenetic tree? 


4. To build a phylogenetic tree, scientists compare DNA sequences. Describe the role of PCR, gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing in this process. 


5. Founder effect and population bottlenecks can change allele frequency in gene pools. Define what each term means and explain how it changes allele frequency. 


6. Define genetic drift and explain how it affects the amount of genetic variation in small populations.


Important Vocabulary: Test Yourself

DNA extraction DNA sequencing Extinction
Founder effect Gel electrophoresis Gene pool
Genetic biodiversity Genetic diversity Genetic drift
Microarray Mitochondrial DNA Nuclear DNA
PCR Phylogenetic tree Population bottleneck
Species Species distribution patterns