Molecular Genetics Application Project

Molecular Genetics: Application Project
Apply your knowledge of genetics using one of the following. You may bring your response to
this application question already completed and printed on test day. Your response is due on
Friday 27 November.
a) Companies or labs that design a gene that codes for a certain product are allowed to
patent it. A lot of people and companies are either very excited or very concerned
about genetically modified foods – it’s a technology of growing importance and growing
concern. Living things can be made with custom genetic sequences – everything from
bacteria and viruses to food crops and mice and dogs are being engineered and
produced. Human genes are being spliced into rice chromosomes for protein
production for health care. There is a research prize currently available to the first
scientists to transplant an organ made from the recipient’s own cells.
i) Find and describe a recent example of a genetic technology. What purpose is
served by the technology?
ii) What do you see as some of the pros and cons of this practice? How does this
science and technology impact society and the environment? How does this affect
our ability as a society to develop and to progress?
iii) In your opinion, is this practice good or bad for society? Why?
b) Although it is hard to be precise, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) claims that
species are going extinct at a rate of about 200 to 2000 each year. Most of “our”
extinctions are caused by pollution, overharvesting, and habitat destruction. Current
climate change patterns may be increasing this trend. We watched Stewart Brand’s
TED talk on “de-extinction” in which Brand discussed the use of molecular genetics
techniques to bring back species made extinct by our actions.
i) Find an example of a recently extinct species with surviving close relatives other
than one mentioned in the video. Describe the species. Include photographs or
images if you can. Identify similarities and differences between the two species.
Essentially, show how we know that the two species are related but different.
ii) Use your knowledge of molecular genetics and ideas and information from Brand’s
talk to propose a way to bring this species back from extinction.
iii) Would you recommend that this species be brought back from extinction? Would
you support that? Make, explain, and justify your recommendation.