Recognize and explain how the scientific method is used to solve problems
Written Assignment: Biology and Technology in the Real World
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
1. Select one of the topics listed below.
Topics (select one)
a) Genetically modified food. Address the following questions: What is the purpose (i.e., advantage) of human-made genetic recombinations in plant and animal food? Are there disadvantages associated with GM foods that are incurred either before, during or after production? Are foods that contain genes resulting from artificial genetic recombinations safe for humans or the environment? What foods in your supermarket result from genetic recombination? What types of state and federal regulations exist for these foods? (For example, you might search the Food and Drug Administration website.) Clearly explain your reasoning and cite scientific support for each answer.
b) Stem cells. A relative of a friend of yours had a spinal cord injury after a bad car accident. The medical team has decided that this patient 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 are going to write for him or her a two-page discussion of stem cell information. In your discussion, include a description of the biology of stem cells, and explain how these cells are unique in their ability to treat diseases and injury. Also, be sure to compare and contrast the different types of stem cells (e.g., embryological, adult, and induced pluripotent (IPSCs). You might also discuss what characteristics they have in common, and the advantages and disadvantages of each in cell regenerative therapies, and their likelihood of being rejected after transplantation. What are the specific obstacles that must be overcome before these potential uses will be realized? The following website from NIH regarding stem cell research will be very helpful: http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp. Clearly explain your reasoning and cite scientific support for each answer.
c) Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and tar sands (oil sands). With society's dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels, the oil & 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?” Briefly explain to your friend how hydraulic fracturing and oil sands are used to obtain fossil fuels. Then, in more detail, describe the environmental problems involved in these processes and why they are controversial. Finally, give your opinions on possible solutions to the problems, with your reasoning backed by the scientific journal references that you studied.
2. Find at least three scientific journal articles related to the topic. You can find assistance with searching for articles at the UMUC Library Subject Guides at http://libguides.umuc.edu/science. You may not use online encyclopedias or dictionaries as a source more than once; do not use Wikipedia as a source. Do not 're-use' a paper that you wrote in another course. (Assistance with evaluating web resources can be found at http://www.umuc.edu/library/how.shtml.)
3. Write two pages, double-spaced, using Times New Roman font size 12 (minimum 500 words), one-inch margins, excluding references and title. Choose an appropriate title and center your name under the title. You must read the scientific journal articles and other information that you find and summarize the information in your own words to address the topic questions. Extensive quotes are not allowed (no long quotes more than 40 words are allowed; one short quote – less than 40 words is allowed). Cite all of your sources of information in the text of your paper in APA format. Cite all information presented in your text that is not common knowledge.
4. List all of your sources of information in a Reference list at the end of the paper, in APA format. This assignment demonstrates the acceptable, ethical, and academic method for citing information from a public source. Use APA style for citing references (see