BIO 170  - First Exam  - 2021

Answer Key


Multiple Choice. 


Place the letter of the choice that best answers the question on the line to the left. 

           Two Points Each.   NOTE: “e” answers are never the correct answer.


___C____ 1.  The typical pathway of energy in a food chain:

                        a.   Consumers, decomposers, producers

                        b.   Producers, decomposers, consumers

                        c.   Producers, consumers, decomposers

                        d.   Decomposers, producers, consumers

                        e.   Red Bull, jittery student, you don’t want to know...

                 ...producers move environmental energy to build fuel from

                      simple molecules, consumers need fuel already built,

                     decomposers take the leftovers, use the energy there,

                     and release simple molecules for reuse.



___A___ 2.  Which confounding factor would be most associated with


                        a.  Experimenter bias                        b.  Statistical error

                        c.  Outside interference                       d.  Null hypothesis

                                    e.   One with a post in it (but a modern one)

                 ...postmodernism concerns all of the bias-producing influences

                       that can skew design.




___C___ 3.  Hox genes are associated with

                        a.  Virus defense                        b.  Cancer initiation             c.  Basic layout

                        d.  DNA testing                                             e.  Hairballs

                  ...they activate very early in an embryo and help things start out in the right places.


___B___ 4.  In modern university science, peer review usually involves

                         a.  Research supervisors                     b.  Journal editors

                         c.  Laboratory colleagues                   d.  Fellow students

                                                e.  Bad habits

                   ...the "peers" are usually the same-field folks who review submitted papers.


___A___5.  ATP is

                        a.  An energy-carrying molecule        b.  A light-capturing molecule

      c.  A genetic coding molecule               d. All of these

                                           e.  Something new from Charmin-?

         's basically the energy-carrying molecule, being used for all sorts of things

                              in all sorts of living things.


___A___6.  The main purpose of a control in an experiment is to

a.  Provide a comparison                     b.  Support statistical data processing

c.  Make it reproducible                         d.  Give enough repetition

                                                e.  It isn’t to control stuff-?

          the test with a changed (or removed) variable and see how the results differ;

                            the difference should be the effect of the variable.


___B___7.  Which would be a direct observation?

                      a.   You see a cell through a microscope

            b.   You hear a bird but can’t see it

            c.   You read about a bright light seen in the sky last night

            d.   You listen to a friend’s story about how a skunk smells

                      e.   You meet Quentin Tarantino?

                   ...a bit of a trick - you're still hearing the bird with your own senses.


___A___8.  Uniformitarianism was developed as a way to

a.   Understand the past                                  b.  Compare DNA

c.   Establish relatedness of fossils                      d.   Study different cell types

e.   Get everybody into similar outfits 

                   ...first step is to assume things worked then as they work now -

                           it's a useful starting point even if it turns out the past was very different.


___A___9.   A animal from which location is most likely to wind up a fossil?

a.   Near-shore ocean bottom              b.   Near-surface open ocean

c.   Rain forest                                     d.   Mountaintop

                                    e.   A low-cost fossil factory

                   ...most fossils are from hard parts buried in sediments that mineralize

                                 and eventually rise above sea level.


___D___10.    In a test of new drugs, all test groups get the same basic treatment

                                    in order to figure in the

                        a.  Double blind                                  b.  Treatment effect               

                        c.  Patient effect                                  d.  Placebo effect

                                    e.  Most ways to divert money

                   ...because it has been found that the psychological response

                              to just being tended to produces its own effects.


___C___11.  An experimental variable is

a.   What changes during the experiment              b.   The opposite of the control

c.   What is being tested                                   d.   The results of the experiment

                                    e.   A very basic thing...that I have totally forgotten

          changes between the tests but not necessarily during the test.


___C___12.   Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny connects

a.  Genetics and classification                b.  Genetics and chemistry

c.  Embryology and evolution             d.  Cells and multicelled systems

                                    e.  Me with horrifying memories of vocabulary tests

        's the useful (but ultimately wrong) idea that developing embryos replay
                       their species' evolutionary history, they actually are the earlier stages.



___A___13.  Resolution or a system relates directly to

                        a.  Focus                      b.  Contrast                  c.  Orientation

                        d. Magnification                      e.  Doing…solutions…again

          clear an image can be produced?


___C___14.  Which term is applied as “your idea is wrong”?

                        a.   Negative proof                              b.  Confounding factor

                        c.   Null hypothesis                           d.  Anti-conclusion

                                                e.  A slap upside the head

                   ...that is always a possibility.

___B___15.   Darwin waited to publish his ideas until

a.   The rules of genetics were worked out

b.   Wallace tried to get his own ideas published

c.   He had built up enough evidence to satisfy himself

d.   He arrived back in England

                   e.   He could make gobs of money with them

                   ...he held off for many years before he had to to get credit for the ideas.


___D___16.  Convergent evolution can be used to explain

                        a.   Persistence of form in embryos

                        b.   “Living fossils”

                        c.   The same basic structure inside, very different  appearance outside

                        d.   The appearance of a “worm” shape in many different groups

                        e.   Why none of this really makes any sense

                   ...that shape is great for certain niches, and keeps showing up in unrelated groups.


___C___17.  Hybrid vigor can explain

                        a.  How dominance actually works

                        b.  What sets the basic rate of evolution

                        c.  How disease alleles become more common over time

                        d.  The epigenetic nature of certain heritable conditions

                        e.  Why labradoodles are adorable

          demonstrates how a "bad" allele can be "good" in

                           certain combinations and circumstances.


___D___18.   According to neodarwinian theory, what changes during evolution?

      a.   Individuals                        b.   Species                              c.   DNA

                        d.   Gene pools                        e.   Socks - always good to change socks

          that population of alleles, useful one get more common and others get less so.

Short Answer.   


Pick NINE questions to answer in the spaces provided.

NOTE: if you answer MORE than nine, only the first nine will be corrected. 

Four Points each.   Partial credit is possible.


1.  Give two different reasons why a field test may be the best option -

 Too expensive / not practical to duplicate environment in lab 


 Unethical to remove subjects from environment


2.  Which two types of reproductive isolation are basically different separations into different niches?

 Basic niche isolation (new jobs)


Temporal isolation  (different times)



3.  Put the following groups in order from the largest to the smallest:  Class, Family, Genus, Kingdom, Order, Phylum, Species, Suborder, Superclass.


1  Kingdom


4  Class


7  Family


2  Phylum


5  Order


8  Genus


3  Superclass


6  Suborder


9  Species



4.   How does a dominant allele “assert its dominance” over a recessive allele, exactly?


 Usually the protein variant coded by the recessive does not work, or works very poorly, while the dominant variant works fine.



5.  The two main categories of microscopes according to the type of beam used:






6.  According to Malthus, what are the natural controls on overpopulation?








7a.  The most common molecular clock uses (be specific!)


 Mitochondrial DNA


7b.  Why that particular source of the molecule?

It doesn't mix; passed without mixing down maternal line


8.  Two features that any hypothesis should have to be scientifically useful:


 It's testable



It's predictive

9.    What are two different discredited ideas that are associated with LaMarck?


 Evolution is continuous improvement



Acquired characteristics could be passed on in changed form

10.  Pick one of Mendel’s Laws.  Give the name and a brief description of how it works.




Recessive alleles can be hidden by dominant alleles 


Alleles get passed on all separately (didn't know about linkage)

11.  Each of these terms is a criticism.  Briefly explain what each is suggesting was done wrong -


  Taxonomic group contains groups that should be separate 




Testing done on too limited a sample

12.  What defines a colonial organism (unicellular or otherwise)?


 Found naturally in groups where different individuals have different jobs in support of the colony.


13.  What are two requirements of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium that apply specifically to the population?


 Must be very large




No splintering or mergers


14.  Put this list in order so that each level contains the previous one - community, ecosystem, population.


1 Population


2  Community


3  Ecosystem

15.  The two main categories of microscopes based upon the beam’s interaction with the specimen:


 Transmission (goes through)


Scanning (bounces off) 

16. In an experiment, what is an artifact?


A result not from the variable, but from how the experiment was set up




Long Answer.  


Select and answer completely any four of the following questions.

Note:  if you answer more than four, only the first four will be corrected.

Seven Points Each.  Partial credit is possible.

1.  Briefly explain why, for COVID-19…

…having had a recent infection or vaccine (non-COVID) might be protective. 


 Both cause release of virus-fighting interferons, something COVID shuts off new production of


…why having COVID should be more immunologically protective than getting the current vaccines.

Vaccines produce antibodies to just one virus protein; exposure produces antibodies to several virus proteins




2.  Alternation of generations, a life cycle where asexual and sexual reproduction both regularly occur, happens in some animals as a way to get the evolutionary advantage of each.  What is that evolutionary advantage?  Explain why each is an advantage (that’s a bit more than just naming the advantage.


Makes actual (code) copies of original, lots of copies of successful forms.




Produces much more variation in offspring, better odds for successful variants.



3.  Give two different rules that apply to each in binomial nomenclature:





The Genus


Always capitalized 





 Means nothing by itself


 Never capitalized





 "Foreign" - italicized or underlined


Abbreviated with first initial and second word 


4.  For four different discoveries in the history of genetics, give the people or model organisms involved and the discovery.


Mendel / pea plants




Fruit flies / Drosophila





Neurospora/ mold



Genes code for single proteins


Phages / Viruses


DNA is enough to build whole systems 

Watson & Crick

DNA structure and function

Human Genome Project

DNA Analysis Technology


5.  What are six different basic features found in all living things on Earth?
Genetic Systems DNA coding
Protein-based chemistry  Self-organization
Cells Reproduction
Growth & Development Use & transform energy
Evolve (as populations)  


6.  For four of the six basic Kingdoms of Life, give the name of the Kingdom and enough features to clearly set that Kingdom's members apart from those of the other five.
Monera Prokaryotes, more common in "regular" environments.
Archaea Prokaryotes, found mostly in "extreme" environments.
Protista Eukaryotes, single-celled or very simple multicelled plants.
Plantae Multicelled (eukaryotes), photosynthetic.
Animalia Multicelled (eukaryotes), absorb nutrients from inner chambers, usually can move.
Fungi Multicelled (eukaryotes), absorb nutrients across outer surfaces, made up of fibers.






Answer as many or as few as you wish.  You can't lose points on the rest of the exam by getting these wrong.  Partial credit is possible.


What two things (3 Points Each) that should have been specified about the mRNA vaccines show up in exactly zero of their technical information sheets?




Why does it make sense that the “diseases evolve to be less virulent” “rule” does not seem to apply to COVID-19?  Three Points.



When can sexual reproduction basically duplicate the effect of asexual reproduction?  Three Points.



What is developing as the newest way to differentiate species from each other?  Three Points.



Who was Karl von Linne?  Three Points.



Why was Darwin taken on to the Beagle?  Three Points.



What fairly rare natural event has to happen to produce fossilized footprints?  Three Points.



How exactly does radiation produce mutations?  Three Points.



Other than the final product, what were the main immediate developments of the Human Genome Project?  Three Points.



What issue needed to be solved to develop high-resolution magnifying lenses?  Three Points.



What did Malpighi realize from his study of goldfish?  Three Points.   







BIO 170

Michael McDarby