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Science Time

Science Time

Program Content for March 25, 2015

Read the article “Biologists seek to limit gene editing technique” on page A1 of the Friday, March 20, 2015 edition of The Seattle Times.


Pre-reading and Vocabulary: Define each term and then use it in a sentence to demonstrate your understanding.


1.      moratorium

2.      genome

3.      inherited

4.      ethics

5.      heredity

Comprehension Questions


1.      On what did a group of leading biologists call for a worldwide moratorium on this past week?  

2.      What do these group of biologists fear?  

3.      What could the new genome-editing technique be used for?  

4.      What does it mean to alter the human germ line?  

5.      In what year was the new genome-editing technique invented?  

6.      Within what organisms has the new genome-editing technique already been successfully used?  

7.      What is recombinant DNA and how does it connect to the current genome-editing technique?

8.      What is Crispr-Cas9 and how does it work?  

9.      What two (2) problems did this new technique help to address?  Explain your response.  

10.     What is one next step the researcher’s of the new genome-editing technique want to complete?

11.    What is the difference between the new genome-editing technique and gene therapy?  


Prompts and Extensions

1.      The article highlights that the new genome-editing technique could be used to enhance beauty or intelligence.  However, many ethicists believe this should never be done.  First, explain what an ethicist is/does.  Next, detail if you agree or disagree with them. If you had the ability to increase your or your child’s beauty/intelligence would you?  Why or why not?  Defend your position with evidence and reasoning.

2.      Watch this animation to get a better idea of how the new genome-editing technique works.  When finished, compare the answer you wrote down in comprehension question #8 to the animation you just watched and add details as needed.

3.      Gene therapy, a less controversial genetic engineering technique is used to help treat individuals with genetic disorders.  Learn more and complete some interactive animations, including one that gives you the chance to be a “space doctor.” here.

4.      You can genetically engineer bacteria yourself with this lab kit.


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