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PowerPoint Presentation on Genetically Modified Foods

Purpose of Genetically Engineering Crop Plants

1. Select one of the five topics below.

a) Genetically modified food. Your daughter comes home from school a little perplexed. In her home economics class, her teacher informed her that you have probably been feeding her genetically modified foods. She did not quite understand what was meant by genetically modified food. In an attempt to help her understand, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation which addresses the following:

1. Explain the purpose of genetically engineering crop plants. Name at least two of these crops.

2. Explain how GMOs created. Use the provided course materials and make a connection to the central dogma of molecular biology in your explanation.

3. Name a variety of foods in your supermarket which contain GMOs.

4. Explain whether foods that contain GMOs are safe for human consumption. Support your answer.

5. List the types of regulations that exist for GMO foods. Support your answer.

6. Conclude with whether or not you agree with your friend based on reliable information sources. For help, you might search the Food and Drug Administration website.

b) Stem cells. Your friend suffered a spinal cord injury after a bad car accident. The medical team has decided that your friend 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 prepare PowerPoint presentation sharing your knowledge of stem cells which addresses the following:

1. Provide a description of the biology of stem cells.

2. Describe how these cells are unique from other cells.

3. Contrast the different types of stem cells.

4. List the pros and cons for each type of stem cell.

5. Explain how stems cells can be used to treat spinal cord injuries. Include information from at least one research study or clinical trial. 

c) Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and tar sands (oil sands). With society's dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels, the oil and gas industry is turning more to use of hydraulic fracturing and tar sands to extract natural gas and oil. A friend asks you. "What's all this controversy in the news about fracking and tar sands?" Showcasing your knowledge on the topic, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which you address the following:

1. Explain how hydraulic fracturing is used to obtain fossil fuels.

2. Describe the environmental problems that may result from hydraulic fracturing.

3. Explain how tar sands (oil) sands are used to obtain fossil fuels.

4. Describe the environmental problems that may result from tar (oil) sands. 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.

5. Explain why the environmental problems are controversial.

6. Conclude with your opinions on possible solutions to these environmental problems, with your reasoning backed by information from reliable information sources.

d) 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: and you need to be prepared in case there are any questions. Please research and write an answer to each of the following questions:

1. Explain what “CRISPR” is.

2. Explain the role that Cas9 plays in the CRISPR process.

3. Explain how the CRISPR-Cas9 system snips and replaces any DNA sequence.

4. List the potential benefits and drawbacks of gene editing. Include specific examples.

5. Explain whether or not you believe the inherent risks of modifying animal DNA is worth the reward.

6. Conclude with your opinion on whether or not it is ethical to genetically engineer humans and/or animals, with your reasoning backed by information from reliable information sources.

e) 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.

1. Start with an explanation of how vaccines work.

2. Briefly contrast the traditional methods used to create vaccines with more recently used biotechnology techniques.

3. List some of the diseases that babies and children in the USA are routinely vaccinated against.

4. How have vaccinations impacted the frequency of these diseases over the past 100 years?

5. Why are some people worried about giving their children vaccines? Is there scientific evidence to support these concerns?

6. Conclude with advice to your friend in regard to getting the recommended vaccines based on what you learned from reliable information sources

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