Written Assignment: Biology and Technology in the Real World

I’m studying for my Biology class and need an explanation.

Addresses course outcomes 1-4:

  • recognize and explain how the scientific method is used to solve problems
  • make observations and discriminate between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations
  • weigh evidence and make decisions based on strengths and limitations of scientific knowledge and the scientific method
  • use knowledge of biological principles, the scientific method, and appropriate technologies to ask relevant questions, develop hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, interpret results, and draw conclusions

Topics (select one)

  • a) Stem cells.
  • b) Genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
  • c) Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPRd)
  • d) Vaccines.
  • e) Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and tar sands (oil sands
  • Students may be assigned a topic. No more than 1/5 of the class may work on any one topic.

Write at least 750 – 1500 words, excluding references. Students must read the articles found, summarize the information they contain briefly in your own words, discuss how the articles relate to biology concepts, answer the questions associated with the chosen topic, and analyze and defend your ideas based on what was learned. Extensive quotes from the article are discouraged. More details about assignment expectations and a grading rubric are below.

This assignment demonstrates the acceptable, ethical, and academic method for citing information from a public source.

Post Assignment 1 to the Assignments folder.

Students will need to create their own user id and password which they choose in order to post an assignment to Turnitin.com. Please use the following information:

Students are welcome to use the EWC – Effective Writing Center for help with this assignment.

Assignment 1 Instructions:

I Introduction and Summary of Articles

Find at least 2 scholarly articles** related to the topic that are no more than 1 year old. These articles should be read in addition to the general research on the topic.

Using your own words, write a summary of the information learned in at least 2 of the scholarly articles. Be specific about which article contains what information. Include all important points. Extensive use of quotes is discouraged. Each summary should be at least 1 paragraph long.

II Biological Concepts and Terms

Relate the topic to biological concepts and terms.

  • Relate at least 3 concepts from class to the chosen topic.
  • Discuss specific facts learned in class by defining a term and/or explaining a concept and discuss how these are related to your topic.
  • Point out how the topic relates to the material covered in class.
  • Discuss the issues of the topic in the context of the material covered in class.
  • How did this topic help you understand concepts covered in class?
  • An example of one concept and how it is related to class:

“One article discusses how a new drug is absorbed through a cell membrane in order to change the metabolism of the cell. One topic covered in class that relates to this article is the discussion about cell organelle, such as cell membranes. Cell membranes are composed of a phospholipid bilayer and proteins that control the flow of molecules in and out of the cell.”

  • “Cell Organelle” is the “topic covered in class”.
  • “Cell membranes are composed of a phospolipid bilayer and proteins that control the flow of molecules in and out of the cell.” is the “definition of the term/explanation of the concept”
  • “This article discusses how a new drug is absorbed through a cell membrane” is “relating the article to the concept learned in class”.
  • All 3 of these items must be included in order to earn credit for relating a concept learned in class to the article read.

III Content of the References

Thoroughly answer the questions associated with the chosen topic. Clearly explain your reasoning for each answer.

Topics (select one)

a) Stem cells. Your friend has suffered a spinal cord injury after a bad car accident. The medical team has decided that he is a good candidate for a clinical trial using stem cell therapy. Your friend has not had a biology course since high school, so you decide to write him a letter sharing your knowledge of stem cells.

  • Include in your letter a description of the biology of stem cells and how these cells are unique from other cells.
  • Contrast the different types of stem cells, including pros and cons for each type.
  • Explain how stems cells can be used to treat diseases and injury, with special focus on spinal cord injuries.
  • Include information from at least one research study or clinical trial.
  • Conclude with your own opinion.

b) Genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A friend tells you that she avoids foods containing GMOs because they are unhealthy. You decide to use the knowledge gained from your biology class and some additional research to form your own opinion on GMOs. Answer the following questions backed up by reliable information sources.

  • What is the purpose of genetically engineering of crop plants? Include at least two specific examples of commonly grown GMO crops.
  • How are GMOs created? Use the provided course materials and make a connection to the central dogma of molecular biology in your explanation.
  • Which foods in your supermarket contain GMOs?
  • Are foods that contain GMOs safe for human consumption?
  • What types of regulations exist for these foods?
  • Clearly explain your reasoning for each answer in your paper and conclude whether or not you agree with your friend.

c) Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) has been the most recent breakthrough discovery in bioengineering that enables scientists to edit DNA. Because you have studied biology in this course, you have volunteered at your niece’s Middle School Science Club to monitor a student debate about CRISPR. The students will be watching the following video before the discussion:https://www.com/watch?time_continue=252&v=2pp17E4E-O8 and you need to be prepared in case there are any questions. Please research and write an answer to each of the following questions:

  • What is “CRISPR”?
  • What role does Cas9 play in the CRISPR process?
  • How does the CRISPR-Cas9 system snip and replace any DNA sequence?
  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of gene editing? Include specific examples.
  • Do you believe that the inherent risks of modifying animal DNA is worth the rewards? Explain.
  • Do you believe that it is ethical to genetically engineer humans and/or animals? Explain.

d) Vaccines. Your friend is worried about the many vaccines that his newborn son is scheduled to receive and asks you for advice since you are taking a biology course.

  • Start with an explanation of how vaccines work.
  • Briefly contrast the traditional methods used to create vaccines with more recently used biotechnology techniques.
  • List some of the diseases that babies and children in the US are routinely vaccinated against.
  • How have vaccinations impacted the frequency of these diseases over the past 100 years?
  • Why are some people worried about giving their children vaccines?
  • Is there scientific evidence to support these concerns?
  • Conclude with advice to your friend in regard to getting the recommended vaccines based on what you learned from reliable information sources.

e) Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and tar sands (oil sands). With society’s dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels, the oil & gas industry is turning to hydraulic fracturing and tar (oil) sands to extract natural gas and oil. A friend asks you “What’s all this controversy in the news about fracking and tar sands?”

  • Briefly explain to your friend how hydraulic fracturing and tar (oil) sands are used to obtain these fossil fuels.
  • In more detail, describe the environmental problems that may result from these processes and why they are controversial. Issues that should be addressed involve water, air and soil pollution with special focus on global climate change, effects on human health, and effects on other species and natural ecosystems.
  • Provide your opinions on possible solutions to these environmental problems, with your reasoning backed by information from reliable information sources.

IV Evaluation of Relevance

Discuss your personal views of the chosen topic and its relevance to you and the world. Discuss what the future looks like in regard to the chosen topic.

Include your own thoughts and opinions on the topic.

  • Why did you choose this topic?
  • How is this topic relevant to you?
  • Relate the points/conclusions of the topic to another issue in YOUR everyday life.
  • Be sure to make your contributions clear, such as: “I believe…I think…This applies to my life…”
  • Discuss how the topic is relevant to the world. Will it have an impact on the future?
  • Analyze and defend your ideas based on what you have learned from research on your topic.

V References – Use 3 or more reliable resources including 2 or more scholarly articles**. Correctly cite the references in APA style

**Scholarly articles are written by researchers, professors, or students and are published in research or academic journals. Scholarly articles (also known as peer-reviewed or refereed articles) have the highest level of credibility because they have been put through a rigorous system of review as other experts in the author’s field of research check the article for accuracy.”

VI Grammar/Spelling – Use Correct Form (formatting, spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc.)

Assignment 1 Checklist

____ Introduction (1 paragraph)

____ Summary of Scholarly Article 1 (1 paragraph)

____ Summary of Scholarly Article 2 (1 paragraph)

____ 1st Biology Concept (concept, definition, how it relates to article)

____ 2nd Biology Concept (concept, definition, how it relates to article)

____ 3rd Biology Concept (concept, definition, how it relates to article)

____ Questions about topic answered (1 + paragraphs)

____ Personal Views (1 paragraph)

____ Future Outlook (1 paragraph)

____ 3+ resources including 2+ scholarly articles (no more than 1 year old, from scientific journals) referenced in correct APA format

____ submit to assignment folder