Name: Date: Period: ______ WebQuest: Genetically Modified

Name: ____________________________________
Date: ______________
Period: _______
WebQuest: Genetically Modified Organisms
Changing a specific gene in an organism through a process called genetic engineering was science fiction just two
decades ago. Now it is common in both simple and complex organisms. Organisms with a new gene engineered into
their genome are called transgenics or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If the GMO is a food item, the name
used is genetically modified foods or GM foods. The purpose of this exploration is to find out if GM foods and other
organisms are a benefit to the world or a risk of genetic disaster not worth taking.
1. Visit the Wikipedia page (contrary to what some
teachers tell you, Wikipedia is a valuable and reliable internet resource, especially for science).
Define GMO:
2. GloFish are novelty pets that glow various colors under UV light. Surprisingly, the technology behind this silly
gimmick earned three scientists the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008. List the three scientists, tell where the
glow protein (called green fluorescent protein or GFP) was originally from and describe what useful research
purpose has been discovered for the glow protein GFP.
Visit to find this information.
Names of the 3 scientists:
In what organism was the GFP gene found?
Scientific use for GFP (hint GloFish application was not Nobel Prize worthy):
3. Go to another Wikipedia page . List three GM foods that
you have likely eaten in your lifetime.
Continue on the back
4. Go to the web page and scroll down to “What are the
advantages of GM foods?” Fill out the chart below by placing an advantage into each column based on whether
the modification is for profit or for human benefit (there are 8 total; two boxes in the chart will remain blank).
Add a specific example organism for each category you listed so that the boxes have two lines like this:
Example: transgenic tobacco removes explosives residue
Find your own examples for each category. The Wiki page from the previous question is useful for this, too.
Improvement to make food cheaper
Improvements to benefit human health
5. Read the section on “What are some of the criticisms against GM foods?” on the CSA page and “Controversy” on
the GMO Wikipedia page (first link on the front.). Then write at least two paragraphs, one summarizing the
environmental hazards, and one summarizing the human health risks.
Environmental Hazards
Human health risks
Final Note: essentially NONE of the hazards and risks featured in the above sources has become a widespread
problem anywhere in the world. Theoretically all are possible, but none have become reality yet.