Integrating major course ideas into coherent themes is a big deal for me. I introduced the topic here. One that I really enjoy is teaching biology with the flu virus (follow the link for resources associated with discussion below). Briefly, influenza attaches to the surface of your cells through specific interactions, is internalized, and then all hell breaks loose when you pump protons into the resulting vesicle. You’re trying to digest it. Its waiting for a sign it’s inside.
Just a brief update to indicate that the opsin function and evolution module is up in its initial-release form here:
The heart of this module is interactive software that lets students ‘mutate’ the gene sequence for the human red-sensing opsin protein and discover how easily it becomes a green-sensing opsin… recapitulating the evolutionary ‘re-discovery’ of this ability in old-world primates.
Posted material doesn’t cover the critical step of gene duplication yet; provided references are primarily raw materials for investigating how mutation can lead to altered function. In this case, that means how a green-detecting opsin is simply a red-detecting opsin with some mistakes in it.