After the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago, populations of marine stickleback fish became stranded in freshwater lakes dotted throughout the Northern Hemisphere in places of natural beauty like Alaska and British Columbia. These remarkable little fish have adapted and thrive, living...
The rock pocket mouse is a living example of Darwin’s process of natural selection.
Scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.
In some parts of the world, there is an intimate connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia.
This virtual lab teaches skills of data collection and analysis to study evolutionary processes using stickleback fish and fossil specimens.
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation, which describes the physical and genetic evolutionary changes in rock pocket mouse populations.
A data collection and analysis lesson that examines selection for coat color in pocket mouse populations on different color substrates over time.
A lesson that requires students to transcribe and translate portions of the wild-type and mutant rock pocket mouse Mc1r genes and compare sequences to identify the locations and types of mutations responsible for the coat color variation described in the film.
An activity in which students analyze amino acid data and draw conclusions about the evolution of coat color phenotypes in different rock pocket mouse populations.
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes, which describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as...
A simple activity that investigates the importance of antifreeze proteins to icefish survival.
A simple demonstration that uses readily-available materials to simulate how blood pumps through the circulatory system of icefish and other fish.
A dramatic demonstration that simulates how tiny ice crystals would form and grow in the blood of most fish if they ventured into the icy waters of the Antarctic.
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans, which describes the connection between malaria and sickle cell anemia—one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans.
A hands-on activity in which students construct models of sickle-cell hemoglobin fibers inside red blood cells to illustrate how changes in the structure of a protein can affect cell shape. Students are then asked to relate these changes to disease symptoms.
A hands-on activity that uses simulations with beads to teach students about population genetics, the Hardy-Weinberg principle, and how natural selection alters the frequency distribution of heritable traits.
The following classroom-ready resources complement Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture, which tells the story of the evolution of the ability to digest lactose, a genetic trait that arose in humans within the last 10,000 years in some pastoralist cultures.
Follow human geneticist Spencer Wells, Director of the Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society, as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults, tracing the origin of the trait to less than 10,000 years ago, a time when some human...
A lesson that requires students to read detailed scientific passages and explain how an understanding of specific icefish adaptations might lead to a treatment or cure for human disorders, such as osteoporosis and anemia.
A hands-on activity in which students interpret molecular diagrams and build physical models of eukaryotic gene regulation.
Students interpret the results of two different tests for lactase persistence.
In this lab, students test different samples to see which ones contain the lactase enzyme.
Students explore the effects of different diets on the evolution of an enzyme that breaks down starch.
Students explore the genetic changes associated with lactose tolerance/intolerance and how the trait is inherited in families.
Students evaluate and discuss several statements about lactose intolerance and evolution before and after watching the film.