Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Evolution of Yeast

Figure from experiment 22 from Investigating Biology through Inquiry


Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection was influenced by his observation that farmers regularly select individual plants and animals that have specific traits for breeding. This process is referred to as artificial selection. For thousands of years, humans have selected plants and animals for different traits such as hardiness, drought tolerance, productivity, etc. After multiple generations of selective breeding, a strain or breed is established. The domestic dog is an excellent example of this process. All dogs can interbreed and are derived from the same genetic stock.

The yeast Saccharomyces sp. is another excellent example of artificial selection. Different strains of yeast are used to make beer, bread, and wine. As a result, brewers and bakers have used artificial selection to select very specific strains of yeast for each purpose.


In this Preliminary Activity, you will use a CO2 Gas Sensor to determine the rate of respiration of glucose by baker’s yeast.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about yeast strains that are used in baking and brewing before you choose and investigate a researchable question dealing with the evolution of yeast through artificial selection. Some topics to consider in your reference search are:

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces bayans
  • beer yeast
  • wine yeast
  • artificial selection
  • evolution
  • baking
  • monosaccharides
  • disaccharides
  • metabolism

Sensors and Equipment

This investigation features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Investigating Biology through Inquiry

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Buffer Investigations
3Investigating Osmosis
4Chemistry of Membranes
5Investigating Protein
6ATesting Catalase Activity (O2 Gas Sensor)
6BTesting Catalase Activity (Gas Pressure)
6CTesting Enzyme Activity (Spectrometer)
7Introduction to Biofuels: Enzyme Action
8Analysis of Enzymes using Tyrosinase
9Cellular Respiration
10ASugar Metabolism with Yeast (Carbon Dioxide Gas)
10BSugar Metabolism with Yeast (Ethanol)
11Fermentation with Yeast
12Photosynthesis by Chloroplasts
13Transpiration of Plants
14Plant Pigments
15Heart Rate
16Investigating Dissolved Oxygen
17Investigating Primary Productivity
18Modeling Population Dynamics
19Water Monitoring
20Evolution of Cellobiase in Fungi
21Introduction to Molecular Evolution
22Evolution of Yeast

Investigation 22 from Investigating Biology through Inquiry Lab Book

<i>Investigating Biology through Inquiry</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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