Written Assignment 2: Biology and Technology in the Real World
(Position Paper) (100 points)
This assignment is designed to help you achieve two of the four major course outcomes:
use knowledge of biological principles to ask relevant questions about the natural
make observations and discriminate between scientific and pseudoscientific
1. Select one of the 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 quite understand what was meant by genetically
modified food. In an attempt to help her understand, write a paper for her which includes
The purpose of human-made genetic recombinations in food.
Whether or not foods that contain genes resulting from artificial genetic
recombinations are really safe.
A list of foods in your supermarket that result from genetic recombination.
What types of regulations exist for these foods.
A conclusion of your own opinion on genetically modified foods
(For help, you might search the Food and Drug Administration website.)
b) Stem cells. Your friend suffered a spinal cord injury after a bad 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 had a biology course since high school. So you decide to write
your friend a paper sharing your knowledge of stem cells. Include in your letter:
A description of the biology of stem cells and how these cells are unique from other cells.
A contrast the different types of stem cells, including pros and cons of each.
An explanation of how stems cells can be used to treat diseases and injury, with special
focus on spinal cord injuries.
A conclusion of your own opinion on using stems cells.
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 use of hydraulic
fracturing and tar sands to extract natural gas and oil. A friend asks you. "What’s all this
controversy in the news about fracking and tar sands?" Showcasing your knowledge on the
topic, you write your friend a paper in which you:
Briefly explain to your friend how hydraulic fracturing and oil sands are used to
obtain fossil fuels.
In more detail, describe the environmental problems involved in both of these
processes and why they are controversial. Issues that may be addressed include are
not limited to water, air and soil pollution, effects on human health, effects on other
species and natural ecosystems
Give your opinions on possible solutions to the problems, with your reasoning backed
by the references that you studied.
2. Find at least three articles related to one of the topics chosen from
You can find assistance with searching for articles at the UMUC Library Subject Guides at
3. For the topic you choose, your paper should contain the following:
Introduction (20 points)
A. Purpose of the paper according to the topic you chose
B. Background for the paper according to the topic you chose
Complete responses to each question for your chosen topic (40 points)
A. Provide adequate support and information to address your questions
B. Write in your own words – extensive quotes from references are discouraged
References (20 Points)
A. You must use at least 3 different references: DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A
B. Use in-text references when quoting directly or paraphrasing a source
C. Cite your references using APA- see the classroom for a document on proper
Paper Format (10 points)
A. Title Page ( Name, Course name and number, Course Instructor, Title of Paper,
B. 11-point Times New Roman
C. 1-inch margins
D. 750-1000 words not including title page and reference page
Grammar (10 points)â€“ spelling, capitalization, punctuation and sentence
structure will be considered in the grading of this paper
4. Post your paper to your Assignment folder before the set deadline.