Genetics and Biotech..


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Genetics and Biotech..

  1. 1. Genetics and Biotechnology in Action! Grade Level 7-8 Alla Kazy Course Description Biotechnology and genetic engineering are hot debate topics these days. Are we improving our lives are digging our own graves? Even actions based on best intentions can have deadly consequences. Should we take a risk or should we avoid it at all cost? Would you like to resolve those questions for yourselves? If you do, join us while we explore our ancient ancestral roots by reading " Seven Daughters of Eve" and enter the alternative universe created by John Wyndham by reading " The Day of the Triffids "! Learn various aspects and guises of genetics and biotechnology from the past to the present and to appreciate the consequences , by analyzing and evaluating each action in terms of the potential benefits and potential risks, so that you too can face the epic challenge – save the world from the triffids! Book List 1. The Day of the Triffids (20th Century Rediscoveries) (Paperback) by John Wyndham (Author) Amazon Price: $11.20 Rediscoveries/dp/0812967127/ref=sr_1_1? ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248879041&sr=8-1 2. The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry (Paperback) by Bryan Sykes (Author) Amazon Price: $11.53 Rediscoveries/dp/0812967127/ref=sr_1_1? ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248879041&sr=8-1 Additional Materials Required: Composition book preferably (but not necessarily) quadrille ruled (recommended item Staples Item: 858198, $2.79 or similar).
  2. 2. Benchmarks Reading 58 (Reading like an Investigator) When reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction sources, this student continuously created questions about the text to further inquiry, annotated key words with further connections/definitions, gathered and prioritized the accuracy and relevance of information, separated human biases from the facts and ideas presented, and categorized information into themes. Writing 61 (Investigative Reports) When writing , this student produced concise, focused, error- free products that enlisted strong verbs, content-specific vernacular, and varied sentence structure to communicate in an authoritative/logical voice. He/she incorporated valid, relevant, and correctly cited research that supported a stated hypothesis/topic; used procedural descriptions and transitions to accurately detail processes involved; thoroughly presented collected data in clearly prioritized/organized text using headings, diagrams, pictures, equations, and/or charts when needed; persuasively discussed research outcomes, articulating both predicted and unexpected results; and/or demonstrated the impact of his/her findings in a broader context. When challenged, he/she consistently separated human biases from facts and logically defended his/her position Big Picture 59 (Eliminating and Isolating) Through observation and careful sifting and winnowing of data, this student deconstructed a problem/system in order to isolate individual problems, solutions, or cost, and eliminate items irrelevant to the problem-solving process. Application 62 (Experimenting) Using general scientific processes, this student identified a problem or formulated a question and then designed an experiment and/or equation that solved the problem or answered the question. 68 (Ranking Solutions and Revising the Scale) After the student tested/ranked solutions, he/she revised his/her experiment to factor out additional variables or to factor in other relevant theories/laws/influences. He/she was also able to expand/modify additional experiments as needed. Behavior 63 (Ethical Investigation ) This student demonstrated resourcefulness and a commitment to the valid, critical analysis of the facts by meeting deadlines, providing
  3. 3. and accepting constructive criticism in multiple settings, properly citing sources, and contributing relevant evidence to group discussions whenever possible. His/her work consistently met the challenge of vigorous analysis due to the detailed approach taken and his/her willingness to incorporate feedback. Course Projects 1. Origins of Triffids– (58, 59, 61) – Team project due by the 2nd face to face meeting. An assay presenting a theory of the triffid origins and their detailed appearance based on the extrapolation and analysis of the information provided and omitted in the book and by analysis of their genetic data (additional resources provided). 2. Presentation of the ideas – (59, 63) – Team project due at the 2nd face to face meeting. Based on the overall understanding of the triffids gained from writing the Origin of Triffids, each group will present their general ideas of how to solve the triffid problem backing them with available facts. 3. Research proposal – (58, 59, 61) – Team project due by the 3rd face to face meeting. Each team will submit a formal scientific proposal. The proposal will reflect work that needs to be done to obtain more clues leading to the solution of the triffid problem or will describe a solution itself. 4. Defense of the proposal – (59, 68, 63) – Team project due at the 3rd face to face meeting. Teams will present their proposals and defend it from the criticisms by others. All criticisms and defenses must be based on scientific knowledge and facts. 5. Letter of recommendation – (68, 61) – Individual project due by the last day of term. After careful and objective review of all proposals each individual will write a formal letter to the government official from the alternative universe which will recommend the best proposal for implementation. The opinion stated should be backed up by solid scientific arguments and should take into consideration all points of view. 6. Lab Notebook – (58, 62, 68) – Individual project due at the 3rd face to face. Written record of all data, ideas, and conclusions gathered throughout the term.
  4. 4. Theme One: Understanding Genetics and Biotechnology of Today Week One: Introduction to Biotechnology and Genetics Summary:This week you will learn to recognize various guises of biotechnology and learn about the foundations of genetic principles. In parallel, learn to read like an investigator by collecting all relevant information about triffids. Learn to note implied and omitted data. Guiding Question: Traditional biotechnology (such as breeding) is deemed safe by most people who are firmly against genetic engineering. However, in 1957 this “safe” biotechnology resulted in the creation of the “killer bees”. Should the traditional biotechnology be regulated just as genetic engineering is? Why? Be sure to respond to at least 3 other students. burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Apis_mellifera_scutellata.htm Branching Activities Experiments in Plant Hybridization by Gregor Mendel (online) Other assignments dealing with basic principles of genetics Reading: Read chapters 1 and 2 of The Day of the Triffids Show What You Know: Discoveries in science change the experience and knowledge base of those that come after. Look-up the genetics timeline on For each event give a short description in your own words of what was discovered and why was it important. Week Two: The Legacy of our Genes Guiding Question: Introduce yourself and your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great,
  5. 5. great, great, great, great grandparent to the group. What do you think you both have in common? What is completely different? Why? Be sure to respond to at least 3 other students. Branching Activities: Activities that have to do with ways that genetics is applied to solve problems. Reading: Read chapters 1-5 in The Seven Daughters of Eve and fill out the chart below. Key Concept Synthesis %20Strategies/keyconceptsynthesis.htm Directions: Use the following graphic organizer to identify the 10 most important concepts (in the form of single words or phrases) from the reading. Think about identifying the 10 most import concepts this way: If you had to explain the reading to someone who had not read the text, what are the five most important concepts you would want them to understand? Use a highlighter and marginal notes to identify import concepts as you read, and then complete the graphic organizer once you have completed the reading. List Concepts Put the Concept Find Two Websites that Give List 2 Key Ideas Gained from the Websites Read in Your Own more Information on the (with page #s) Words Topic 1. EX: “The past DNA carries the Links Evolution - PBS • “If Neanderthals had made a substantial contribution to is within us all,” similarities that Rediscovering the gene pool of contemporary humans, replacement (8). have been models like out of Africa would be severely challenged.” Biology - Unit 9 Human passed down for Evolution Animations • “Subtle chemical signals, or pheromones, have long been many and Images known to draw pairs together within the same species, generations and for a specific reason. In mice, for example, experiments showed that pheromones acted as attractants between males and females who were genetically similar except that they differed in a certain type of immune system gene.” 2. 3. 4. 5.
  6. 6. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Show What You Know: Build a flow chart exploring the problem solving process used to answer a question solved by genetics. Your map should: 1. Start with a question. 2. Show all known possible answers to that question. 3. Introduce evidence that either negated or furthered each possible answer. 4. End with an excepted answer. Week Three: Unlocking the Past Guiding Question: Did she really murder that person? Was he really the father? What happened to the Neanderthals? Where did the Polyisiean people come from? Was the body of the Tsar really found? Who is that mummy really? Why do some people age more than others? Genetics has answered many controvesial questions about the past. State one question, describe the different prespectives developed on that topic before genetics helped to answer the question, and then explain how genetic evidence helped to provide an answer. Be sure to respond to at least 3 other students. Reading: Complete reading The Seven Daughters of Eve and fill out the Key Concept Synthesis chart. Branching Activities: Skill building activities in bioinformatics.
  7. 7. Show What You Know: 1. Apply knowledge and skills learned this week by tracing the relationship of various organisms presented in the Bioinformatics Assignment. 2. Complete the Specialty Qualification Quiz that will test knowledge and skills acquired to date (not graded). Your performance on this quiz will define your group and specialty assignment in all future projects. Theme Two: Tracing the Origins of Triffids Week Four: The Building Blocks Guiding Question: The triffids were supposedly created in the secret military facility. Can you see how they can be used as a weapon? What do you think is being made at such facilities around the world today? Where would biological warfare lead? Are there ways to prevent it? Reading: Read the next 6 chapters of The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Discuss the meeting at the University. Which group would you join? How would you behave in such situation? Go to the Discussion: The Day of the Triffids and post your thoughts. Show What You Know: This week you will start working as an expert team member on the 1st project: The Origin of Triffids. Each of you will be responsible to contribute work related to your specialty field of expertise. Collaborate with your team members in collection and analysis of the information available about the triffids in your group forum. Scientific literature will be individually provided. 1) Botanists will have to trace various traits of the triffids to existing plants in phenotype– possible progenitors (ex. Find which plants produce non-volatile oil in their stems/leaves) 2) Molecular biologists will have to explain the basis of triffid traits on the molecular level by discovering similar pathways in other plants. (Ex. How is poison produced and restricted to the sting?) 3) Geneticists will have to work out how is it possible to have only 5% of fertile seeds.
  8. 8. 4) Bioinformatics specialists will work on tracing triffid linage from the DNA data that will be provided. 5) Ecologists will need to connect the effect of the environment and climate on the triffids and research similar cases among other plants. Week Five: Tracing the Past Guiding Question: “Unlocking the past”, tracing your linage to the tsar sound exiting and fairly innocent. But how far and how deep should we dig? Would that butler be as excited and proud of his relationship to the iceman if it was discovered that he was a cannibal? Would you want to know if you are related to Hitler? Are there events and possible relationships in the past better left undiscovered? Give at least three ideas and be sure to respond to at least 3 other students. Branching Activities: What goes wrong with DNA Reading: Read chapters 9-13 of The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Respond to the thought that situation could have been worse without triffids. Join the discussion started by Coker of “womanly virtue” vs. “parasitism” and state your views on the matter. Writing Application: This week you will write “The Origin of Triffids” in which you will propose scientific explanation of how the triffids were created in collaboration with your team. The Origin of Triffids is due on the date of the 2nd face to face meeting. Week Six: Concocting a Solution Guiding Question: Hypothetical problem: Some scientist created a genetically modified mosquito. This mosquito is male and carries a dominant gene that causes infertility in female progeny. If this male is mated with the regular female mosquito, all males in the progeny carry this gene and all females are infertile. He proposes to release this mosquito into the general population. That will result in the full eradication of the mosquito population in the near future. No more need to spray insecticides! No more diseases carried by mosquitoes! What other
  9. 9. possible side effects could there be? Should he be allowed to do so? Why? Explain your reasoning (may require some research on your part). Reading: Finish reading The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. What is the world coming to? Are there are any other possible scenarios that John Wyndham had not foreseen? Show What You Know: Now that you “know” the past of the triffids, what further information do you need to collect and what experiments to perform in order to come up with the way of exterminating them in the future? Is there a solution to the triffid problem short of extermination? Propose several ideas of how to eradicate triffids. Work with the representatives from the alternative universe on deciding which one to pursue based on logistics and ability to overcome technical limitations. Bill Masen, lab manager, will send questions for the proposed experiments. Michael Beadly, government official, will request forms, short reports, memos, etc. Elspeth, historian/journalist, will periodically request additional information ask opinions, voice public concerns on various issues, etc. And, finally, John Smith, lab technician, will perform some of the requested experiments and post the results. Finalize the idea and send an official memo. Branching Activities: Submit requests for at least 3 short experiments (related to triffids) to the lab tech, John Smith. Review and analyze the results. Theme Three: Solving the Triffid Problem Week Seven: Mixing and Matching Guiding Question: Is it okay to mix genes from different species? “An example of a plant-animal-human transgenic combination would be one in which the DNA of mouse and human tumor fragments is inserted into tobacco DNA. The harvested plants contain a potential vaccine against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.1 Other transgenic plants have been used to create edible vaccines. By incorporating a human protein into bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes, researchers have been able to create prototypes of edible vaccines against hepatitis B, cholera, and diarrhea.2 The vaccines are proving to be successful in tests on agricultural animals and humans,” ( .
  10. 10. Reading: Additional scientific literature (will be provided) Show What You Know: Once idea is proposed, more information needs to be collected to prove this idea as feasible. Make a list of all information/protocols/data necessary for a feasibility study. Submit the request to the library. Read all the literature provided for your request. Based on the information gathered submit request for at least 3 small experiments along with the protocol to the lab tech. Receive and analyze the results. (Ex. Send a request for gene screening, provide protocols for it, receive results as picture of a gel or a DNA sequence depending on request). Week Eight: Ethics and Feasibility Guiding Question: Do you think human cloning will happen despite current laws? If it did, what might be some of the consequences? “Several bioethicists have called for a ban on species-altering technology that would be enforced by an international tribunal.14 Part of the rationale for a ban is the concern that such technology could be used to create a slave race, that is, a race of subhumans that would be exploited,” ( Should such ban be limited to humans or should we ban creation of the carrot-cabbage plant as well? What about animals? Show What You Know: Submit feasibility study. It will become along with the “origin of triffids” a part of the actual research proposal (introduction and background material). Research (via library request) various techniques required for the research proposed. Modify those (if required) to suit your experiments. Submit for logistics analysis to Bill. Modify/change as required. Write up the Materials and Methods section of your proposal and submit. Answer to safety and environmental concerns voiced by Elspeth. They will need to be addressed in the discussion section of the proposal. Week Nine: Bringing it All Home Guiding Question: Would you want to know if there was a genetic defeat in your family’s history?
  11. 11. Show What You Know: 1. Final proposals are due on the date of the 3rd face to face meeting 2. Each team will give a short (15 min) oral presentation – an overview of their proposal. 3. Following the presentation each team will be required to answer relevant questions posed by other teams (for 15 min). 4. Final assignment is due on the last day of term. Each person will be required to reevaluate the merits of each proposal presented at the face to face and write a Letter of Recommendation (1/2-1 page long). First face to face: Introduction Explicit, implicit, and omitted information Experts – analyzing the same information from different points of view Discover your field of expertise activity Need to bring: 1. Yourself 2. Your Lab notebook 3. Lunch Second face to face: The Origin of Species Discussion of The Origin of Species Discussion of ideas for the proposal Need to bring: 1. Yourself 2. Your Lab notebook 3. Any visual aids (if any)
  12. 12. 4. Lunch Third face to face: Presentation of the Research Proposals Presentations (15 min per team) Defense (15 min question and answer period per team) Need to bring: 1. Yourself 2. Your Lab notebook 3. Visual aids (required) 4. Lunch