The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes
This film explores how gene duplications and mutations have led to remarkable physiological adaptations in Antarctic fish.
The discovery of the Antarctic icefish has provided a stunning example of adaptation in an environment that is both hostile and abundant. Scientists 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.
The “Abbreviated Film Guide” provides a short summary of the film, along with key concepts and connections to curriculum standards.
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
Antarctic icefish, antifreeze protein, gene duplication, hemoglobin, marine biology, mutation
Chen, Liangbiao, Arthur L. DeVries, and Chi-Hing C. Cheng. “Evolution of Antifreeze Glycoprotein Gene from a Trypsinogen Gene in Antarctic Notothenioid Fish.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 94, 8 (1997): 3811–3816. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.94.8.3811.
Deng, Cheng, C.-H. Christina Cheng, Hua Ye, Ximiao He, and Liangbiao Chen. “Evolution of an Antifreeze Protein by Neofunctionalization under Escape from Adaptive Conflict.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, 50 (2010): 21593–21598. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1007883107.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1.A, HS-LS4.A, HS-LS4.C
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1, IST-2, IST-4, SYI-3
IB Biology (2016)
3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 1.3, 2.4, 2.6
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Vision and Change (2009)