Lesson summary for:
The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans
This 14-minute film describes the connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia - one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
HHMI provides a variety of teacher resources for use with this video: an in-depth film guide, student quiz, two worksheets and three student lessons.
- There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit.
- An organism’s features reflect its evolutionary history.
- Some traits of organisms are not adaptive.
- There is a fit between the form of a trait and its function, though not always a perfect fit.
- Evolution is often defined as a change in allele frequencies within a population.
- Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Evolution results from mutations.
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- Phenotype is a product of both genotype and the organism’s interactions with the environment.
- New heritable traits can result from mutations.
- Mutation is a random process.
- Organisms cannot intentionally produce adaptive mutations in response to environmental influences.
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction.
- Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing.
- Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.
- Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.
- Natural selection can act on the variation in a population in different ways.
- Natural selection sometimes favors heterozygotes over homozygotes at a locus.
- Heterozygote advantage preserves genetic variation at that locus (i.e., within the population, it maintains multiple alleles at that locus).
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