Biology in the Movies

In this assignment you will select and watch a movie that includes biological themes. Watch the
movie and summarize the biological information presented in the plot. Consider the major
themes of biology that we go over in class.
Major Theme 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.
Major Theme 2: Energy Processing. Living systems utilize energy and organic molecules to
grow, to reproduce and to maintain homeostasis.
Major Theme 3: Information processing. Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond
to genetic information (DNA) essential to life processes.
Major Theme 4: Biological Interactions. Biological systems interact (from cells interacting
with other cells to whole organisms interacting with each other and the environment), and these
systems and their interactions possess complex properties.
Biology in the Movies
Hollywood movies have long incorporated biology as a plot mechanism. From Lion King and
Finding Nemo, to Frankenstein and Gattaca, films have entertained us with biology facts
(about ecology and DNA) capitalized on our fascination with how life works and exploited our
fears about new technologies like biological warfare or genetic engineering. These biology
movies provide both scientific facts and misinformation.
Choose one feature film (from the 4 above, the list below, or another) that you have seen
recently or view one on Youtube, Netflix, etc. Write a short (2-3 pages) essay on the movie and
its connection to one (or more) of the four major themes of biology; Evolution, Energy
Processes, Information (DNA), and Interactions (from cells to ecosystems). Identify and
explain 1-2 biological concepts that are explained well in the film by citing specific
examples from the movie and specific information from the lecture/lab material, the textbook,
or your own research. Identify 1-2 examples of misinformation presented in the film and
discuss why they are not accurate based on specific information from the course, the
textbook, or your own research. For example, the movie Jaws presents factual information about
the biology and behavior of sharks and their function in ecosystems. It also presents
misinformation about how sharks behave in nature.

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