4.4 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
And here’s the revision page from Click4Biology
Polymerase Chain Reaction
Lyrical Science! The PCR song is great:
Gel Electrophoresis and DNA Profiling (or DNA Fingerprinting)
- DNA Learning Centre’s Electrophoresis animation
- Learn.Genetics super-flashy animation
- Case study: the case of the pothunters from Learn.Genetics
Access Excellence has a very good paper modeling activity, which I have adapted to fit onto a single A3 side. Please visit the full instructions and background to activity at Access Excellence’s site.
To find out more about restriction enzymes, visit Scitable’s Spotlight.
TOK and Biology – DNA evidence frees 200th US prisoner
The Human Genome Project
- Official Site How to sequence a genome
- Teachers’ resources
- Outcomes: Bioinformatics DNA Microarrays 1 (2)
Gene Transfer Technology
- McGraw Hill animation collection
- Steps in cloning a gene, from McGraw Hill
- NewScientist: gene therapy success reverses blindness
- Gene Therapy in SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency) from Sumanas
- Positive news about gene-transfer successes in SCID treatment, from Nature.
- Gene transfer in insulin production from abpi schools
Genetic Modification in Crops and Animals
- Glowing pigs and fish: Animal Farm TV series
- GM food and you (objective, worth watching)
- David Suzuki talks about GMO and the precautionary principle. For more about the precautionary principle, refer to 5.2 Greenhouse Effect.
- Good extract from The Geek Manifesto by Mark Henderson on GMO’s and protestors.
Here is an interesting, if superficial, infographic on why we need more robust crops in many regions of the world. Your challenge – find out how these crops are modified and produced. HL students might think about how these environmental conditions affect plants.
But do GM crops encourage resistance and increased pesticide and herbicide use? from the Guardian.
Also, Carl Zimmer writes in Slate: “Strain Game – Could information about a lab-made virus really help evildoers create a biological weapon?“
- Therapeutic cloning cures Parkinsons mice
- News: Dolly team Scientists clone human brain cells, from the Guardian
- More about cloning from ActionBioscience
- Extinct Pyrenrean Ibex cloned back into existence – for seven minutes.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Although this is ahead of the syllabus, it is developing into a hot topic in cell biology and genetics. Does is negate the deadlock over the use of cloned embryos in therapy and research?
Ed Yong’s great iPS research timeline.
Nature Methods names iPS as the Method of the Year 2009:
Ethics & Curriculum Link Discussion
Since the Human Genome Project, up to 20% of human genes have been patented by their discoverers. By patenting the genes – which are present in all of us – the companies responsible have control over what can be done with regards to research, diagnostic testing and treatment.
Recently, one company’s patent of the BRCA1 gene was overturned, opening the doors to research with reduced legal worries. Read this neat article from BadScience: “I patent your ass. And your leg…”
Here is a short video on the BRCA1 gene (critical in women), from OvarianCancerDr:
1. What was the effect of the patent on research and medicine?
2. What is the effect of the patent being overturned now likely to be?
3. Explain the significance of the clause that states “…[patent #5,747,282] makes claim to any sequence of 15 nucleotides, the “letters” of the genetic code, coding for any part of the protein made by the BRCA1 gene.”
US says genes should not be patented, from the NY Times.