Assignment 2: Biological Basis
Due in week 5 and worth 80 points
Continuing on the research that you started in Week 3, explain what your chosen biotechnology accomplishes and how it is implemented, and describe the body of knowledge that it is based upon. The detailed guidelines are as follows:
- Begin with a description of the biotechnology and what it accomplishes. Then, explain whether it involves manipulating the DNA (or RNA) of an organism, or simply utilizing the DNA (or RNA) that is already there naturally.
- Provide a full and complete description of exactly how the technology works.
- If your technology involves manipulating the DNA of an organism, then you should explain how that is accomplished. Depending on the specific technology, adding DNA to cells is often accomplished with a vector, such as a virus or bacterium, but there are mechanical means as well, such as microinjection or use of a “gene gun.”
- If your technology involves interpreting the DNA in an organism (as one might do for personalized medicine), explain how that is accomplished. What are the means of collecting a sample? How is the sample processed? What exactly is being analyzed to generate the interpretation?
- Discuss the key biological principles that underlie the technology. Many of them are based on an understanding of genes and how they are expressed. Other technologies may be based on the concept of the genome, transcriptome, or proteome. Others are based on an understanding of non-coding DNA (such as the short-tandem repeats used in DNA fingerprinting). Many are based on an understanding of DNA replication, as well as basic heredity.