HomeHHMI's BioInteractiveThe Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes

BioInteractive

Free Resources for Science Education

 
Short Film
The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes

Summary

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.

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(Duration: 13 min 10 sec)

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The discovery of the Antarctic icefish has provided a stunning example of adaptation in an environment both hostile and abundant, where the birth of new genes and the death of old ones have played crucial roles. Researchers Bill Detrich, Christina Cheng, and Art DeVries have pinpointed the genetic changes that enable icefish to thrive without hemoglobin and red blood cells and to avoid freezing in the icy ocean.

Awards

  • 2013 New Media Film Festival; First Place (STEAM)
  • 2012 W3 Awards; Silver
  • 2012 Davey Awards; Silver

Curriculum Connections:

AP (2012–13)

1.A.1.c; 1.A.2.a,b,c; 1.C.3.a,b; 3.C.1.a,b; 3.C.2.a; 4.B.1.a 

Supporting Materials (6)

Classroom Resource
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.
Classroom Resource
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. 
Classroom Resource
A simple demonstration that uses readily-available materials to simulate how blood pumps through the circulatory system of icefish and other fish.
Classroom Resource
An advanced lesson that describes the role of mutations in the birth and death of genes. It includes background information, examples, video clips, and animations.
Classroom Resource
A simple activity that investigates the importance of antifreeze proteins to icefish survival.
Film Guides
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 both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.

Available for Order

DVD

This series of five short films features unforgettable examples of the evolutionary process in action.

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SD (WMV)
104 MB