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AS and A Level: Genetics, Evolution & Biodiversity

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  1. Biological Model of Abnormality

    Infection could be to blame for abnormality, due to germs, bacteria and viruses. An example of this is with Syphilis which sometimes leads to brain deteriation which gave rise to psychotic behaviours such as delusions. This is widely thought to be due to your body unable to cope with the infection effectively. Genetic Factors could cause mental illness if you inherit a gene which causes mental illness. A study has shown that twins with the same genes, the concordance rate for schizophrenia is 42% whereas for twins with 50% of the same genes the rate is 9%.

    • Word count: 789
  2. The Human Genome Project

    There are several legal or political issues regarding knowledge of a person's genetic make-up, such as to whom would it be available. Will insurance provider's and employers be aloud access to a person's genetic information? If such information is shared with these institutions, it allows for the possibility that individuals may be refused based on this information (Khoury and Dorman, 1998). Also, there must be federal legislature determining appropriate use of genetic information. As of right now, the state legislature controls this issue and the laws vary from state to state (Khoury and Dorman, 1998).

    • Word count: 668
  3. The Human Genome project

    The Human Genome Project aims to: * Determine the sequence of the four bases (adenine, cytosine, thymine and guanine) throughout all the DNA in human cells; * Identify the estimated 100 000 genes formed by the bases; * Find the locations of the genes on the 23 human chromosomes; * Store all this information on databases for future research; * Consider all the ethical, legal and social issues which arise from obtaining information about the human genome. DNA underlies almost every aspect of human health, both in function and dysfunction. Obtaining a detailed picture of how genes and other DNA sequences function together and interact with environmental factors ultimately will lead to the discovery of pathways involved in normal processes and in disease pathogenesis.

    • Word count: 860
  4. The use of recombinant DNA technology can only benefit humans

    So the location of the DNA probe is known, it is labelled with a radioactive fluorescent marker. The aim is for the probe to attach to its complementary base sequence within DNA extracted from human cells. Secondly the gene has to be cut from its DNA chain. Controlling this process are many restriction endonucleases (restriction enzymes). Each of these enzymes cut DNA at a different base sequence called a recognition sequence. The recognition sequence is 6 base pairs long. The restriction enzymes PstI cuts DNA horizontally and vertically to produce sticky ends. The restriction enzymes SmaI cuts DNA vertically.

    • Word count: 999
  5. Genetically Modified Foods

    Examples of traits that are modified are increased resistance to herbicides, and improved nutritional content. The method that is used to enhance the traits of the plants is called breeding, but scientists have found that breeding is very time consuming and not very accurate. So instead of scientists using breeding they use a method known as genetic engineering, which can create plants with desired a lot faster and with more accuracy. An example of genetic engineering in plants is, a scientist can take a gene from a crop that has drought tolerance and put that gene into another plant to give the plant more drought tolerance.

    • Word count: 874
  6. Genetic Engineering in agriculture

    Genetic modification is used to grow crops in some parts of the world. Genetic modification (GM) involves copying the genes which govern a particular characteristic from one organism and transferring them to another organism. An example of a GM crop is Soya. The Soya is genetically modified so that it is tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate [4]. This would reduce the usage of insecticides and herbicides therefore less money is spent by the farmers and the condition of the crops would be better. How is it done? Genetic engineering works by physically removing a gene from one organism and inserting it into another organism giving it the ability to express the trait encoded by that gene.

    • Word count: 972
  7. Mendel: Extra Biology Credit

    When I breed the F1 generation I ended up with the F2 generation. For the F1 generation I selected a six foot pea plant and a short pea plant and crossed them. In the F1 generation I noticed that all the offspring were tall and didin't even show short. In the F2 generation I crossed 2 tall pea plants and noticed that 3/4 of the offsprings were as tall as the tall plants in the P generation.

    • Word count: 436
  8. Biological causes of abnormality

    German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing found that it was caused by the syphilis bacterium. Micro-organisms have also been suggested as a cause of schizophrenia. Genetic factors Some people may inherit illnesses which have been carries on through genes passed down through generations.

    • Word count: 308
  9. Cloning and the law in Britain

    After looking at lots of for and against arguments I was left with a lot of conflicting emotions. If you were to reproduce a dead child how would the clone feel knowing that it had been born as a replacement? Or imagine a clone being created in your partner's image. What would the implications be when the clone reached the age that your partner was when you met them. Even though you had brought that clone up as your child you could have a sexual relationship with it because technically it is your partner's twin. This could be where the human was turned into an expendable product.

    • Word count: 795
  10. The benefits and criticisms of the human genome project

    The particular order of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs is extremely important. The order underlies all of life's diversity, even dictating whether an organism is human or another species such as yeast, rice, or fruit fly, all of which have their own genomes and are themselves the focus of genome projects. Because all organisms are related through similarities in DNA sequences, insights gained from nonhuman genomes often lead to new knowledge about human biology. One of the key research areas in the Human Genome Project was Chromosome Mapping. Mapping is the construction of a series of chromosome descriptions that depict the position and spacing of unique, identifiable biochemical landmarks, including some genes that occur on the DNA of chromosomes.

    • Word count: 918
  11. "Only god has the right to interfere with our genes"

    In my essay I am going to consider whether man should have the power of god to do this, I will look at the opinions and beliefs of 2 religions and my own personal opinion. The 2 religions will be looking at are Christianity and Islam. Christians agree that only god should have the right to manipulate our genes and characteristics because 'it is wrong to try to make the earth perfect, only heaven is perfect'. The teaching they would use to support this is that Christians believe that genetic engineering is interfering with gods plan and that scientists don't have the knowledge or wisdom that god possesses, so they aren't 'qualified' enough to attempt such delicate work.

    • Word count: 891
  12. Do genes govern our behaviour?

    Yet it will tell us few of the things claimed by its backers. What Are genes!? Genes are chemicals in every cell in the human body, and of every living thing. They are made of four chemicals, which are linked, together in long chains in various combinations. The idea of the Human Genome Project was to map the entire sequence of these chemicals. This "genome" would be the "blueprint for life", and open the door to explaining human biology and behaviour, and herald miracle cures to disease. The whole notion is deeply flawed.

    • Word count: 619
  13. The Human Genome Project.

    This is because they can raise life insurance payments due to whether or not the gene has a defect. People who may have a different or faulty gene may be penalised for this and their life insurance payments will be raised to accommodate this. However, the gene may have been interpreted wrongly and then extra money is being obtained for no reason. It is against people's human rights to be treated differently due to the map of their genes. Employers should only have access to the information if the employee gives permission.

    • Word count: 792
  14. The pro's and con's of genetic engineering.

    Another term that is associated with genetic engineering is cloning, this means using genetic engineering techniques to produce genetically identical organisms. Up until now genetic engineering and cloning has been used to clone plants, unicellular organisms, amphibians and simple mammals. This has led to significant advances in agriculture, industry, and medicine. Newer techniques in genetic engineering have enabled scientists to clone more complex mammals and opened up the possibility of cloning humans. Although there are many potential benefits to this technology, the prospect of cloning humans has raised many practical, ethical and religious dilemmas that are currently being debated by society.

    • Word count: 875
  15. Cancer is a disease in which cells grow out of control and invade, erode, and destroy normal tissue.

    One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. However most cancers mainly affect older people. Therefore as the average life expectancy in the United Kingdom has almost doubled, the risk of cancer has grown. It is estimated that a third of all cancers are caused by smoking and another third is caused by the diet people choose. These are over two hundred different types of cancer, and all have different causes, different symptoms and require different types of treatment.

    • Word count: 787
  16. To what extent is schizophrenia a biological disorder?

    This is based around a genetic influence. An individual shares 50% of their genes with a close relative such as their mother and only 25% with their grandmother. Therefore the closer the relative being diagnosed with schizophrenia, the more likely they will also be diagnosed. However, there is also debate around this point through looking at environmental factors. An individual may share the same environment and stressors as a close relative, therefore the chance of them both developing schizophrenia will be the same.

    • Word count: 893
  17. What did Watson and Crick postulate?

    Crick and Watson were able to determine from this that DNA had a double helix. You can see in the picture that the organic bases have different numbers of rings separating the purines with pyramines, knowledge that they would use later on. Using this newly found knowledge they published papers about their findings and ideas. For their work they received the noble prize, and their findings are pretty much undisputed worldwide. According to their findings they proved that the DNA was a double helix bond, and not only that but there was a pattern in the way the different organic bases linked the helix strands together. This discovery was groundbreaking.

    • Word count: 511
  18. Should we always do what science and technology make it possible to do?

    When it reproduces it copies both its own DNA and the added DNA. This means that millions of genetically engineered bacteria can be grown from just one. Diabetes is a disorder where people cannot produce the hormone insulin. They need to inject it before they eat. In the past, insulin was obtained from pig or cow pancreas. The insulin needed lots of modification to change it as close to human insulin as possible. This was expensive and also some people got allergic reactions to insulin made like this.

    • Word count: 490
  19. Since the discovery of DNA in the late 1950's, the possibility of genetic modification of animals and plants has become a reality. However is the reality of designer babies going to far?

    Genetic diseases such as Downs Syndrome and Spinal Biffida would be eradicated. The economic saving for the NHS would be an obvious benefit. The quality of life for those who would of otherwise suffered the effects of the disease for which there is no improvement. Major killer diseases, mainly heart disease, Britons most common cause of death, would certainly be less common, or eradicated for good. But do we want perfect, disease free individuals? The advantages for society as a whole would be numerous. This would include economic advantages; if people were not suffering from genetic diseases the health care budget could be decreased and the money relocated to other areas of need.

    • Word count: 980
  20. Human Genome Project.

    The new technologies developed in the course of the project will be applicable in numerous biomedical fields. In 2000 the government and the private corporation Celera Genomics jointly announced that the project had been virtually completed, five years ahead of schedule." Britannica 2003 Two research centres announced on Monday, June 26 that they have mapped the human genetic code. Researchers at the Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics Inc. say they have sketched a blueprint of the genome, a sort of database of the body's genes.

    • Word count: 594
  21. 'Is the cloning of human cells useful to mankind?'

    Another possible benefit that could be achieved from human cloning is the production of children free of genetic flaws that one-day could cause certain diseases. Certain diseases could be avoided by changing the DNA, but this opens the door for new unknown diseases to be created through the gene pooling. The Advertiser on the 4/4/00 made this statement regarding the cloning of human cells 'This could allow us to regrow a heart muscle or bone marrow and that is not a threat to humanity' The statement means that through cloning new organs could be created.

    • Word count: 863
  22. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering.

    Scientists transfer some known 'small' genes to another species to improve their functions. There are many unknown factors of this, as well as a low success rate, so very few products exist. As for cloning, the only clone is 'Dolly' the sheep, who was genetically duplicated from a complete set of adult chromosomes. Scientists have been unable to repeat the experiment, so many of them question its validity. There are advantages to genetic engineering; despite the fact we are more informed of its possible dangers. These advantages are mainly known in the advantages of genetically modified crops (or GM foods).

    • Word count: 749
  23. The Era Before Watson and Crick.

    DNA, in contrast, was found to contain only four kinds of repeating units, nucleotides. Therefore, it seemed too simple to carry out such complex tasks. In 1936, at the Rockefeller Institute on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Oswald Avery, a microbiologist, wondered aloud if the carrier of the genetic information from old chromosomes to new might be DNA, but no one took much notice-at least not at that time. In Britain, during the pre-war years, J.D. Bernal at Cambridge and William Astbury at Leeds, both crystallographers, began using X-rays to determine the structure of molecules in crystals.

    • Word count: 757
  24. Environmental and Consumer benefits of genetically modifying crops.

    They see it as us tampering with nature and the way God made the world. Whether people like or not though, GM crop development is going ahead and scientists are constantly finding new ways to make plants better. I am going to highlight some of the benefits these GM crops have on the environment and the consumer. The environmental benefits of producing genetically modified crops to the environment is that on the farms, less pesticides will have to be used on the crops to keep them disease resistant. the crops can have a gene inserted that resists a threatening disease.

    • Word count: 826
  25. Gene Cloning.

    Libraries prepared in this way can be screened to identify the individual bacteria containing the gene of interest. This bacterium is then picked and grown up to produce a clone of identical bacteria. As the vector containing the inserted DNA replicates whenever the bacterial cell divides this results in the production of enough cloned insert DNA to characterize the gene of interest. In this manner the genes encoding particular proteins of interest, or the genes whose inactivation by mutation results in a specific disease, can be studied in detail. For example, its sequence can be determined and the nature of the mutation, which results in disease, can be identified.

    • Word count: 840

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