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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2016, High School Biology

  Question 23: Open-Response  
The lizard Gallotia galloti lives on four of the Canary Islands, as shown on the map below. Each island has its own population of lizards, numbered 1 to 4 on the map. 
The map shows seven islands off the north west coast of Africa.  The islands are labeled Canary Islands.  The islands are located west of Africa.  The two islands that are furthest away are island one and island two.  Island two is just north of island one. Island three is followed by island 4 and then three unlabeled islands are closer to Africa.
Scientists have sequenced and compared DNA from lizards in each population. The cladogram below shows one hypothesis regarding how the lizard populations are related.
The cladogram shows two lines connected at the bottom. One line is angled up to the left and the other is angled up to the right forming a V shape. At the end of the left line is another V shape. On the top of one side of the V is Population one and on the top of the other side of the V is population three. The line that is angled up to the right has a V shape at the top. On the top of one side of the V is Population four and on the top of the other side of the V is population two.
  1. The DNA sequences of individuals from population 3 are probably most similar to the DNA sequences of individuals from which other population (1, 2, or 4)? Explain your answer.
Scientists also sometimes analyze behaviors when investigating relatedness among organisms.
  1. Besides DNA and behavior, identify one type of evidence scientists could have used to investigate relatedness among the four lizard populations.
Scientists predict that, much like the finches on the Galápagos Islands, the four populations of Gallotia galloti will become separate species over time.
  1. Describe the roles of both the environment and geographic isolation in the lizards’ becoming different species.

Scoring Guide and Sample Student Work
Select a score point in the table below to view the sample student response.

ScoreDescription
4 The response demonstrates a thorough understanding of species as reproductively distinct groups of organisms and of the role that geographic isolation can play in speciation. The response correctly identifies and clearly explains why the DNA sequences of individuals from population 3 are most similar to the DNA sequences of individuals from population 1. The response correctly identifies one type of evidence, besides DNA and behavior, scientists could have used to determine relatedness among the four lizard populations. The response also clearly describes the roles of both the environment and geographic isolation in the lizards becoming different species.
4
3 The response demonstrates a general understanding of species as reproductively distinct groups of organisms and of the role that geographic isolation can play in speciation.
2 The response demonstrates a limited understanding of species as reproductively distinct groups of organisms and of the role that geographic isolation can play in speciation.
1 The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of species as reproductively distinct groups of organisms and of the role that geographic isolation can play in speciation.
0 The response is incorrect or contains some correct work that is irrelevant to the skill or concept being measured.

Note: There are 2 sample student responses for Score Point 4.

High School Biology

Question 12: Anatomy and Physiology
Question 23: Evolution and Biodiversity
Question 32: Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Question 44: Genetics
Question 45: Ecology

Return to the MCAS 2016 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: July 10, 2017
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