Biology and Technology in the Real World 

PowerPoint Presentation: Biology and Technology in the Real World  (100 points)

Course Outcomes Addressed:

  • recognize and explain how the scientific method is used to solve problems
  • make observations and discriminate between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations
  • weigh the evidence and make decisions based on the 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 five topics below.

a) Genetically modified food. Your daughter comes home from school a little perplexed.  In her home economics class, her teacher informed her that you have probably been feeding her genetically modified foods.  She did not fully understand what was meant by genetically modified food.  In an attempt to help her better understand, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which you:   1) Explain the purpose of genetically engineering crop plants.  2) Explain how genetically modified foods are created, using the central dogma of molecular biology in your explanation.   3) Name a variety of foods in your supermarket which are or contain genetically modified foods.  4) Explain whether genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption.  Support your answer.   5) List the types of regulations that exist for genetically modified foods. Support your answer.    6) Conclude with your opinion on whether genetically modified food should continue to be produced and consumed, based on information backed by reliable sources.

Biology and Technology in the Real World  1

For help, you might search the Food and Drug Administration website.

b) Stem cells. Your friend suffered a spinal cord injury after a devastating car accident. The medical team has decided that your friend is a good candidate for a clinical trial using stem cell therapy.  Your friend has not taken a biology course since high school, so he asks you about stem cells.  In order to help your friend make an informed decision about whether to enter the trial for stem cell therapy, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which you:  1) Describe the biology of stem cells.   2) Describe how stem cells are unique from other cells.  3) Contrast the different types of stem cells.    4) List the pros and cons for each type of stem cell.   5) Explain how stems cells can be used to treat spinal cord injuries, including information from at least one research study or clinical trial.   6) Conclude with your opinion on whether your friend should enlist in the clinical trial based on information backed by reliable sources.

The following website from NIH regarding stem cell research will be very helpful:

c)  Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and tar sands (oil sands). With society’s dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels, the oil and gas industry is turning more to the use of hydraulic fracturing and tar sands to extract natural gas and oil. Because you are such a conscientious biology student, a friend asks you, “What’s all this controversy in the news about fracking and tar sands?” Showcasing your knowledge on the topic, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which you:  1) Explain the process of hydraulic fracturing.   2) Explain the process of tar sands extractions.    3) Describe the environmental issues* that may result from hydraulic fracturing.   4) Describe the environmental issues* that may result from tar (oil) sands.        *Environmental issues that should be addressed involve water, air and soil pollution, with a special focus on global climate change; effects on human health; effects on other species and natural ecosystems.   5)  Explain why the environmental issues are controversial.    6) Conclude with your opinions on possible solutions to these environmental issues, with your solutions backed you information from reliable sources.

Biology and Technology in the Real World  1

The following websites from EPA may be helpful:

d) Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) has been the most recent breakthrough discovery in bioengineering that enables scientists to edit DNA. Because you have studied biology in this course, you have volunteered at your niece’s Middle School Science Club to monitor a student debate about CRISPR. The students will be watching the following video before the discussion: .  In order to further educate them on the CRISPR process, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which you:  1) Explain what “CRISPR” is.   2) Explain the role that Cas9 plays in the CRISPR process.   3) Explain how the CRISPR-Cas9 system snips and replaces any DNA sequence.   4) Explain how the CRISPR-Cas9 system differs from other gene-editing tools.  5) List the potential benefits and drawbacks of gene editing. Include specific examples.  6) Conclude with your opinion on whether the inherent risks of modifying animal DNA is worth the reward, with your reasoning backed by information from reliable sources.

e) Vaccines. Your friend is worried about the many vaccines that his newborn son is scheduled to receive and asks you for advice since you are taking a biology course. In order to help him make an informed decision about whether to allow his son to be vaccinated, you prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which you:  1) Explain how vaccines work.  2) Briefly contrast the traditional methods used to create vaccines with more recently used biotechnology techniques.  3) List some of the diseases that babies and children in the USA are routinely vaccinated against.   4) Share how vaccinations have impacted the frequency of these diseases over the past 100 years.   5) List reasons why people are worried about allowing their children to be vaccinated, including any scientific evidence to support these concerns.  6) Conclude with advice to your friend regarding vaccinating his son, based on what you learned from reliable information sources.

2.  Find at least five articles related to one of the topics chosen from above (You can find assistance with searching for articles at the UMUC Library Subject Guides at, and then create a PowerPoint presentation according to the following criteria:   

Presentation Format (20 points) 

Presentation label (1.5): Label your presentation with your first and last name and your chosen topic (GM Foods, Stem Cells, Fracking/Tar Sands, CRISPR, or Vaccines).  For example Regina Miller – CRISPR;

Title slide (2.5): presentation title, name, course, instructor, due date

Presentation information slides (10): exactly 10 slides, not including a title slide and reference slide(s);

Presentation font (3):  use 30-point font for ALL type on slides (except for references which are 10-point: see below)

Presentation creativity (3):  style, colors, and graphics will be considered

Presentation Content (60 points)

Presentation Introduction (Slides 1 & 2): Purpose (5):  state the purpose of the presentation according to the topic chosen including the scenario provided for your topic;  Background: (5) Provide a brief background on the topic chosen

Presentation Responses (Slides 3-10) Questions &. Support (40): respond to each of the five questions for the topic chosen supporting each with facts from reliable resource; Conclusion (10): Express personal conclusions based on facts from reliable resources

Presentation Grammar (5)  spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure

Presentation References (15 Points) see

References number – (10) Use at least 5 different references ** DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A REFERENCE **

Slide references (2.5): use a 10-point font in the bottom right-hand corner of slides

End references (2.5): use APA-formatting

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