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STAGE 2 BIOLOGY

ASSESSMENT TYPE 1: Investigations Folio

Issues Investigation
Part A – Analysis of source
Church of Scotland — Society, Religion and Technology project.

Viewed February 2010

http://www.srtp.org.uk/gmfood.shtml

RELIABILITY:

T
Investigation Selects with some focus information about biology in relation to the issue being investigated.


he information is a secondary source found of the internet on the site of a well known and recognized organization, established since 1970. The page relating to genetically modified foods doesn’t mention any author and so cannot be fully considered as reliable information. The director of the organization providing the information, Dr. Donald Bruce, has a BSc and PhD in chemistry, a diploma in theology and a PhD in theology, making the piece slightly more credible, however with no mention of the author or contributors to the genetically modified foods piece the research is hardly credible and reasonable.

BIAS:

The piece supports both sides of the issue to a certain extent by outlining "opening up great opportunities in agriculture, food and medicine" but also shows the side of the argument that genetically modified foods are "unnecessary, harmful, unethical, and mostly benefiting big business at others expense." The article outline a number of cons for the argument such as "playing god" and "do we really know what we are doing". The article is also supported by a number of pros such as "better resistance to weeds, pests, disease" and "more efficient use of land".

The article brings a balanced argument on Christian values into account. The article tends to outline negative topics by emphasizing points like "will genetic engineering really feed the world?". Here the article is more biased to the cons of the issue. All the relative aspects are asked in a negative form and more significant points for the negative aspect of the issue tend to be made.

RELEVANCE:

The sections of the article that will be useful for the human awareness essay will the be the table outlining pros and cons on the matter for comparison in the essay and the section containing information on who gains and who loses from the use of genetic engineering. A good example of genetic engineering "problems with Soya bean and maize imports" is also included and will make a good example in the essay to relative the genetic engineering to real life circumstances.

The information included in the selected piece is beneficial for including points of view into my essay. It will not be useful for biological background as it does not include the biological information for this topic.



Part B report – Should genetically modified foods be produced?

Introduction and Biological Background


Knowledge and Understanding

Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of a general range of biological concepts.



Knowledge and Understanding

Uses knowledge of biology with some logic to understand and explain one social issue.


A
Investigation

Selection, with some focus, of an issue about biology.


genetically modified food is a food product containing some quantity of any genetically modified organism as an ingredient. (Wikipedia) Plants, animals and microorganisms can all be genetically modified and have their protein structure altered in order to possess more desired characteristics that usually benefit the human race. Generally modified foods have a number of advantages such as feeding the entire world whose population is likely to double in the next 50 years. With all advantages comes disadvantages, such as the ethical concerns of people who believe it is wrong to “play god” even if it is beneficial to the human race. Producing and selling genetically modified foods comes with a set code of rules and guidelines specific to each state. Although only a small amount is produced genetically modified foods must be safe and suitable and must comply with fair-trading and trade practices laws. Permission must be granted followed by a safety assessment and all genetically modified foods must be appropriately labeled. This essay will explain the biological background and pros and cons of the issue to investigate the question “Should genetically modified foods be produced?”

Genetically modified food entails taking DNA from one organism and incorporating it into another. This process works successfully due to the universal code of amino acids and the fact that almost all species recognize the same order of DNA sequences as the same amino acids. This results in a gene being placed into another organism having the power to produce the same feature.

Common foods that are altered are soybeans, corn and canola. This is often done to make the food better by increasing the shelf-life, pest resistance or flavor. An example of this is the “Flava Sava” tomato, which has been inserted with a gene to suppress its softening and increases its shelf life.

T
Application Attempts to use some biological terms that may be appropriate.
he method of creating genetically modified food entails a number of steps which can be carried out using various biological methods. Initially the desired characteristic must be used to locate the appropriate gene, the gene of interest. This gene is then isolated, copied and inserted into the new recipient cell to become the transformed cell. Once the insertion is successful and the gene is accepted and functions, the cell is reproduced and translation and transcription account for the new gene as part of the normal structure and so the gene is replicated as part of the new cells.

A number of methods can be used to genetically modify foods. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to make copies of DNA using DNA polymerase. PCR makes large amounts of the copied DNA sequence which can then be used and altered so that it can be used in another organism.

POINTS OF VIEW


Investigation

Partly acknowledges one or more sources of information about an issue in biology.
Using genetically modified foods has a number of benefits, but with those benefits also comes a number of disadvantages that creates the question of whether genetically modified foods should actually be modified. Possibly the most important advantage for genetically modifying foods is that genetically modified foods could provide enough food for the world's growing population when it predictably doubles in the next 50 years. Genetically modifying the foods will produce more abundant crops because a gene can be inserted into foods such as corn to increase pest and disease resistance and also herbicide tolerance. A major benefit of modifying foods is that certain foods can be modified to increase their flavour or features such as shelf life. An example of this is the long lasting tomato, which "produces less of the substance that causes tomatoes to rot, so remains firm and fresh for a long time." (Reference 1) This tomato can tolerate more transport so is easier to ship and continues to ripen in the sun creating a better and more desirable flavour. Creating genetically modified foods also has a significantly beneficial effect on the environment. "There is some evidence for positive impacts of the planting of GM crops on reduced greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide loads in the environment." (Reference 2)

With these benefits comes a number of concerns and disadvantages from various parties. One huge ethical concern from a number of religious people is that genetically modifying foods is wrong. They say it is "playing God" and it is wrong to change the natural characteristics of a plant and alter the natural development of a plant. Many people are also concerned with the safety of genetically modified foods. Questions such as "do we really know what we are doing?" are being asked. Genetically modifying foods could result in foods that we have no idea what is inside them and whether the side-effects are potentially dangerous. Although no safety hazards have yet been proved, there is also the concern of whether in the future "genetic modification of foods may be the cause of changes that are undesirable or directly dangerous." (Reference 3) Genetically modified foods also prove threats to people with allergies. If genes are inserted into other organisms and people with allergies aren't aware they could suffer. This means that people have to be aware of what they are eating and take precautions to avoid foods that don't have traces of foods they are allergic to.


Knowledge and Understanding Uses some logic to explain the issue.
CONCLUSION

Genetically modifying foods definitely has huge benefits that could save other countries from starvation and preserve foods for the future and provide enough resources for a growing population. Although a number of concerns, such as safety, ethics and allergies are present with the topic of genetically modifying foods there has been no real proof yet of harmful effects and the foods have only proved to do good.

In my opinion, there is a big problem feeding the world and it will get worse. Genetically modified food seems to be the best solution to this problem and it could also better for the environment because it might be possible to use less chemicals. Risks and precautions do need to be taken in manufacturing these foods, such as machine checks and permits to produce the foods, however, they seem to have more advantages than disadvantages and with correct labeling people should be able to make up their own mind on whether they choose the foods if they hold ethical or personal issues with the foods or have any allergies.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

Reference 1

www.globalfootprints.org/issues/local/food/gmfood.htm viewed February 2010.


  • Report on GM food giving advantages and disadvantages, explaining why it is important

  • project supported by European Union and UK Department For International Development.

  • Should be a reliable source.

Reference 2

http://www.drpeterjdadamo.com/wiki/wiki.pl/Allergens,_Dietary/Genetically_modified_food



  • Website for The Individualist (Editor Peter D’Adamo)

  • collaborative information exchange platform for scientific information.

Reference 3

"future food", BIONET, 2002, viewed February 2010,

http://www.bionetonline.org/English/Content/ff_eth.htm .


  • People can explore life science and debate issues

Reference 4

Church of Scotland — society, Religion and Technology project, viewed 4 September 2007

http://www.srtp.org.uk/gmfood.shtml

Previously reviewed

Reference 5

"genetically modified food", wikipedia, 2004, viewed February 2010,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food


  • Brief introduction to genetically modified food - no scientific basis.

Reference 6

"genetically modified food controversies", wikipedia, 2007, viewed February 2010, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_food_controversy



  • general information about concerns regarding GM food and where it is banned.


Additional comments

A review of the student’s response provides evidence of:



  • on-balance, of selection with some focus, and mostly appropriately acknowledgement of information about biology and issues in biology from different sources (Investigation)

  • application of different formats to communicate knowledge and understanding of biology with some general effectiveness (Knowledge and Understanding).

Evidence from this investigation contributes to an overall assessment for the Investigations Folio of a student’s:

  • use of appropriate biological terms and conventions (Application)

  • demonstration of knowledge and understanding of biological concepts (Knowledge and Understanding)

  • communication of knowledge and understanding of biology in different contexts, using different formats (Knowledge and Understanding).


Performance standards for Stage 2 Biology





Investigation

Analysis and Evaluation

Application

Knowledge and Understanding

A

Designs logical, coherent, and detailed biological investigations.

Critically and logically selects and consistently and appropriately acknowledges information about biology and issues in biology from a range of sources.

Manipulates apparatus and technological tools carefully and highly effectively to implement well-organised safe and ethical investigation procedures.

Obtains, records, and displays findings of investigations using appropriate conventions and formats accurately and highly effectively.



Critically and systematically analyses data and their connections with concepts to formulate logical and perceptive conclusions and make relevant predictions.

Critically and logically evaluates procedures and suggests a range of appropriate improvements.




Applies biological concepts and evidence from investigations to suggest solutions to complex problems in new and familiar contexts.

Uses appropriate biological terms, conventions, formulae, and equations highly effectively.

Demonstrates initiative in applying constructive and focused individual and collaborative work skills.


Consistently demonstrates a deep and broad knowledge and understanding of a range of biological concepts.

Uses knowledge of biology perceptively and logically to understand and explain social or environmental issues.

Uses a variety of formats to communicate knowledge and understanding of biology coherently and highly effectively.


B

Designs well-considered and clear biological investigations.

Logically selects and appropriately acknowledges information about biology and issues in biology from different sources.

Manipulates apparatus and technological tools carefully and mostly effectively to implement organised safe and ethical investigation procedures.

Obtains, records, and displays findings of investigations using appropriate conventions and formats mostly accurately and effectively.



Clearly and logically analyses data and their connections with concepts to formulate consistent conclusions and make mostly relevant conclusions.

Logically evaluates procedures and suggests some appropriate improvements.




Applies biological concepts and evidence from investigations to suggest solutions to problems in new and familiar contexts.

Uses appropriate biological terms, conventions, formulae, and equations effectively.

Applies mostly constructive and focused individual and collaborative work skills.


Demonstrates some depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of a range of biological concepts.

Uses knowledge of biology logically to understand and explain social or environmental issues.

Uses a variety of formats to communicate knowledge and understanding of biology coherently and effectively.


C

Designs considered and generally clear biological investigations.

Selects with some focus, and mostly appropriately acknowledges, information about biology and issues in biology from different sources.

Manipulates apparatus and technological tools generally carefully and effectively to implement safe and ethical investigation procedures.

Obtains, records, and displays findings of investigations using generally appropriate conventions and formats with some errors but generally accurately and effectively.


Analyses data and their connections with concepts to formulate generally appropriate conclusions and make simple predictions with some relevance.

Evaluates some procedures in biology and suggests some improvements that are generally appropriate.




Applies biological concepts and evidence from investigations to suggest some solutions to basic problems in new or familiar contexts.

Uses generally appropriate biological terms, conventions, formulae, and equations with some general effectiveness.

Applies generally constructive individual and collaborative work skills.


Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of a general range of biological concepts.

Uses knowledge of biology with some logic to understand and explain one or more social or environmental issues.

Applies different formats to communicate knowledge and understanding of biology with some general effectiveness.

D

Prepares the outline of one or more biological investigations.

Selects and may partly acknowledge one or more sources of information about biology or an issue in biology.

Uses apparatus and technological tools with inconsistent care and effectiveness and attempts to implement safe and ethical investigation procedures.

Obtains, records, and displays findings of investigations using conventions and formats inconsistently, with occasional accuracy and effectiveness.



Describes basic connections between some data and concepts and attempts to formulate a conclusion and make a simple prediction that may be relevant.

For some procedures, identifies improvements that may be made.




Applies some evidence to describe some basic problems and identify one or more simple solutions, in familiar contexts.

Attempts to use some biological terms, conventions, formulae, and equations that may be appropriate.

Attempts individual work inconsistently, and contributes superficially to aspects of collaborative work.



Demonstrates some basic knowledge and partial understanding of biological concepts.

Identifies and explains some biological information that is relevant to one or more social or environmental issues.

Communicates basic information to others using one or more formats.


E

Identifies a simple procedure for a biological investigation.

Identifies a source of information about biology or an issue in biology.

Attempts to use apparatus and technological tools with limited effectiveness or attention to safe or ethical investigation procedures.

Attempts to record and display some descriptive information about an investigation, with limited accuracy or effectiveness.



Attempts to connect data with concepts, formulate a conclusion, and make a prediction.

Acknowledges the need for improvements in one or more procedures.




Identifies a basic problem and attempts to identify a solution in a familiar context.

Uses some biological terms or formulae.

Shows emerging skills in individual and collaborative work.


Demonstrates some limited recognition and awareness of biological concepts.

Shows an emerging understanding that some biological information is relevant to social or environmental issues.

Attempts to communicate information about biology.





Page of Stage 2 Biology annotated student work

Ref: A185212 (revised January 2013)



© SACE Board of South Australia 2013


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