Rock Pocket Mice Case Study

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Natural Selection and Evolution of Rock Pocket Mouse Populations

Observations:
Most rock pocket mice have a sandy light-colored coat.
There have been populations of rock pocket mice that are found to have dark-colored coat.
These Sandy light-colored mice are found living in location where they blend in.
The dark-colored coat mice are found in areas with mostly dark rock so that they are able to blend in.

Questions:
What makes these Rock Pocket mice have a different colored coat?
Did the mice start out with a light colored coat or with a dark-colored coat?
How long did it take for the populations to evolve into different populations with different colored coats?
Did gene mutation cause a change in the coat color between populations of the Rock Pocket mouse?

Hypothesis:
Alternate hypothesis: Rock Pocket mice have different coat colors that help to their advantage that depend on their location through evolution.
Null hypothesis: Rock Pocket mice don’t have different coat colors that help to their advantage that depend on location through evolution.

Materials:
1. Genetic code chart
2. The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaption Student Handout
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The darker mice have a mutated Mc1r gene because they present a darker coat from the light-colored coated mice. This happens because of a mutation in the Mc1r gene that increases the production of eumelanin by melanocytes that then results in a darker coat. This is alternative to the lighter-coat mice who have a lighter coat because their Mc1r gene goes through no mutation resulting in a presence of melanocytes which produce melanin and therefore decrease the production of

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