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Lesson summary for:
The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes


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This 13-minute film describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish by studying its genome — an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Grade level:

15-20 minutes

Teaching tips:
HHMI provides a variety of teacher resources to accompany this video: an in-depth film guide, student quiz, two demonstrations and three student lessons.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (LS4.C)

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • Variation is the result of genetic recombination or mutation. (LS3.A)

  • The variation that occurs within a population is random.

  • Evolution results from natural selection acting upon variation within a population. (LS4.B)

  • Traits that are advantageous often persist in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Environmental changes may provide opportunities that can influence natural selection. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use multiple lines of evidence to study life over time.

  • There is variation within a population. (LS3.B)

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