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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Lesson summary for:
The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans

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Overview:
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.

Author/Source:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
15-30 minutes

Teaching tips:
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.

Concepts:
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)

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

  • Mutations are random.

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.

  • Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.

  • Organisms cannot intentionally produce adaptive mutations in response to environmental influences.

  • Populations, not individuals, evolve.

  • 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. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

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

  • Natural selection is dependent on environmental conditions.

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

  • Some traits of organisms are not adaptive.

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