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This lesson serves as an extension to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation. It provides an opportunity for students to analyze amino acid data and draw conclusions about the evolution of coat-color phenotypes in the rock pocket mouse.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
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.
- An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.
- Not all similar traits are homologous; some are the result of convergent evolution.
- Evolution occurs through multiple mechanisms.
- Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Evolution results from genetic drift acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Evolution results from mutations.
- Evolution results from gene flow.
- New heritable traits can result from mutations.
- 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.