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Biotechnology essay questions


excellent resource on cloning, GM food and
pastoral issues but need to subscribe with them.


What is biotechnology? Write a de

Give an overview of important events in the history of biotechnology.

What does biotechnology involve

comment on and discuss what is involved in
traditional biotechnology and modern biotechnology.

See unit 6

Improving production by genetic m


GM Foods

What are genetically modified foods? Write your definition.

What is a transgenic plant?

Give 5 ways in which we want to modify a plant that produces food.

shelf life

tomatos engineered to last longer

drout resistance

thicker waxy c
uticles improve growth in drought

uniform fruiting

soya beans altered to make beans in temperate climates.

wind damage

soya plants engineered to have thick stems and be same height

resistance to pesticides
Gene inserted into plants to make I.C.P. killi

resistance to herbicides Crop plants which are resistant to herbicides can be
sprayed so increasing yield as less competition.

Give some examples of genetically modified foods. How have they been modified?

Why were these plants modified?

at concerns are there about GM food to people and to the environment?

Has good cut and stick on benefits/ concerns of GM plants

http:// www. collinseducation. com/ Extract/ SI004_GMf
ood. pdf

How are genes inserted into plants? (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)

gene isolated

put into plasmid, plasmid returned to bacteria, bacterium infects plant
plant makes a
tumor in which each cell has plasmid with desired gene.

Transgenic animals

What are transgenic animals?

Give afew examples of why people may want to alter the animals. (beef, milk yield,
produce ins
ulin in goats milk etc)

What benefits are associated with transgenic animals? (Yield, cheap pharmaceuticals,
mass produce pharmaceuticals e.g. sheep make factor 8, other animals make growth

How is a gene inserted into an animal to make it trasgeni
c? (DNA containing desired
gene put into nucleus using a fine pipette, cells cultured, cells implanted into female

transgenic animal born.)

GM Bacteria

Give 2 examples of how bacteria have been modified to produce a useful product for
us? (insulin, human growth hormone,

factor 8 Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH)

Why is it beneficial to obtain products from bacteria in this way? (low cost, mass

How is the gene inserted into the bacterium? (biology textbook

gene isolated,
plasmid opened, gene put into plasmid, plasmi
d closed, bacteria has gene so makes
product, grown in fermenter, purified)

Where are the bacteria put to reproduce? Under what conditions? (Fermenter or
bioreactor at optimum pH , temperature and nutrient levels.


if recombinant organism escape
s from lab could cause envorenmental
catastrophy, Viruses could transfer genes from transgenic bacteria to others, should
this be used for cosmetic or just medical purposes? If new organisms are patented
who owns them?

Gene Therapy

What is gene therapy?
Inserting normal genes to correct defective genes causing
genetic diseases.

What diseases is it used to treat? Cystic Fibrosis, SCID

How is the gene inserted into the cell? Virus

has insides removed so it is just an
empty virus coat

copy of healthy ge
ne put in empty virus, virus ‘infects’ person,
new healthy gene is expressed.

Why is a virus used instead of a bacteria?

easily infects, can have disease causing
centre removed. E.G . Flu virus used as vector in case of cystic fibrosis as reaches

lung tissue easily.

What are the benefits? Disease treated

What are the concerns? See unit 6 movie. + germ line gene therapy would change the
sex cells DNA and could alter human genotype.

Stem Cell Technlogy

What are stem cells? (unspecialised cells oft
en obtained from embryos which , given
the correct chemical stimuli, can develop into specialised cells such as heart cells,
nerve cells, etc. These cells could repair damaged tissue in the heart, brain etc.

How can they be used to treat injury and diseas
e? Parkinsons / Alzheimers

nerve cells made.

What are benefits?

Treatment of incurable diseases.

What are concerns?


embryo could grow into person.


Give a definition of cloning

What are the different types of cloning?

Give some examples o
f clones which have been produced.

Describe how an animal is cloned?

Why are animals cloned


Is cloning moral



What are the benefits of cloning


What are the concerns of cloning


What are the ethical concerns associated with cloning and Genetic engineering


Consider ethical, socia
l, religious and scientific concerns associated with these

What effects could these techniques have on the environment

? Cross breeding of GM
plants with wild version, escape of GM bacteria into environment


Are we playing God


Is GM food saf


Is Cloning morally correct

, scientifiaclly safe


Should we use viruses to insert genes into humans


Could we created a cloned superrace



Use facts.

Commment on the reliability of the source

: How recent is it

? Who wrote it

they h
ave any bias

why do you think this

? Are theie statistics to back up their

? Is the information to high/ low a level


Gene Therapy

What is gene therapy?

What diseases can it be used to treat?

How is the new gene inserted into
the cell?

Why is a virus used instead of a bacterium?