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Option B: Biotechnology and Bioinformatics AHL
Campbell Chapters 17 and 20
*It is strongly recommended that you read and take column notes on all of chapters 17 and 20 in addition to answering the
“Understandings” and “Sample Questions and Assessment Statements” below. For all other chapters, simply reading the suggested
pages and doing any more work that you deem necessary will be enough.
Medicine: Chapter 20
Essential Idea: Biotechnology can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Nature of Science:
Developments in scientific research follow improvements in technology—innovation in
technology has allowed scientists to diagnose and treat diseases.
1. Infection by a pathogen can be detected by the presence of its genetic material or by its antigens.
2. Predisposition to a genetic disease can be detected through the presence of markers. 405-411
3. DNA microarrays can be used to test for genetic predisposition or to diagnose the disease. 405411
4. Metabolites that indicate disease can be detected in blood and urine. 416-417; Online
5. Tracking experiments are used to gain information about the localization and interaction of a
desired protein. 409-410; Online
6. Biopharming uses genetically modified animals and plants to produce proteins for therapeutic
use. 418-419; 421-423
7. Viral vectors can be used in gene therapy. 417-419
Applications and Skills:
Application: Use of PCR to detect different strains of influenza virus. Online
Application: Tracking tumor cells using transferrin linked to luminescent probes. Online
Application: Biopharming of antithrombin. 418-419
Application: Use of viral vectors in the treatment of Sever Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID).
Skill: Analysis of a simple microarray. 410-411
Skill: Interpretation of the results of an ELISA diagnostic test. Online
Sample Questions and Assessment Statements:
Outline the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to copy and amplify minute quantities of DNA.
(4.4.1) 403-404
State that, in gel electrophoresis, fragments of DNA move in an electric field and are separated
according to their size. (4.4.2) 405-407
State that gel electrophoresis of DNA is used in DNA profiling. (4.4.3) 406-407
Describe the application of DNA profiling to determine paternity and also in forensic
investigations. (4.4.4) 406-407; Online.
Analyse DNA profiles to draw conclusions about paternity or forensic investigations. (4.4.5)
Outline three outcomes of the sequencing of the complete human genome. (4.4.6) Online
State that, when genes are transferred between species, the amino acid sequence of polypeptides
translated from them is unchanged because the genetic code is universal. (4.4.7) 330-331
Outline a basic technique used for gene transfer involving plasmids, a host cell (bacterium, yeast
or other cell), restriction enzymes (endonucleases) and DNA ligase. (4.4.8) 396-404, esp 398
State two examples of the current uses of genetically modified crops or animals. (4.4.9) 418-419;
Discuss the potential benefits and possible harmful effects of one example of genetic modification.
(4.4.10) 416-420; online.
Define clone. (4.4.11) 249
Outline a technique for cloning using differentiated animal cells. (4.4.12) 412-416
Discuss the ethical issues of therapeutic cloning in humans. (4.4.13) 416-420; 422; online.
There have been cases around the world where subjects have died as a consequence of
participating in a gene therapy research protocol. How is the decision to proceed with risky
procedures made?
What constitutes an acceptable level of risk for allowing humans to be involved in scientific
Bioinformatics: Online and Handouts
Essential Idea: Bioinformatics is the use of computers to analyze sequence data in biological research.
Nature of Science:
Cooperation and collaboration between groups of scientists—databases on the Internet allow
scientists free access to information.
1. Databases allow scientists easy access to information. Handout
2. The body of data stored in databases is increasing exponentially. Online
3. BLAST searches can identify similar sequences in different organisms. Handout
4. Gene function can be studied using model organisms with similar sequences. 442-447
5. Sequence alignment software allows comparison of sequences from different organisms. Handout
6. BLASTn allows nucleotide sequence alignment while BLASTp allows protein alignment. Handout
7. Databases can be searched to compare newly identified sequences with sequences of known
function in other organisms. Handout
8. Multiple sequence alignment is used in the study of phylogenetics. 541-542; Handout
9. EST is an expressed sequence tag that can be used to identify potential genes. 429-431; Handout
Applications and Skills:
Application: Use of knockout technology in mice to determine gene function. Online.
Application: Discovery of genes by EST data mining. Online.
Skill: Explore chromosome 21 in databases (for example in Ensembl). Online.
Skill: Use of software to align two proteins. Online.
Skill: Use of software to construct simple cladograms and phylograms of related organisms using
DNA sequences. Online; handout.
Knowledge claims justified by reference to databases raise unique knowledge questions. How
reliable are knowledge claims justified by reference to data sources developed for different
purposes by different researchers using different methods.
Aim 6: Sequence alignment of related proteins such as hemoglobin and myoglobin could be