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Supplemental Modules (Molecular Biology)
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- Agricultural Biotechnology and Gene Therapy
- We will discuss some general background, on mutations and recombination. This will lead to work on genetically modified plants and animals -- and gene therapy for humans.
We began to talk about gene modification. We started with the natural processes of mutation and recombinat
- Bird Flu
- The current news on bird flu is important because it is possible for very serious human flu viruses to develop from bird flu viruses. At this point, it appears that some people have been infected with the bird flu, and some have died from it. So far, the evidence is that transmission of the bird flu from human to human is very limited. This is only slightly reassuring; the real concern is that the virus will change (e.g., mutate) to allow efficient transmission between humans.
- Case Studies: Diseases
- Case Study: Unusual microbes
- Cloning and stem cells
- Cloning (in this context) involves growing a new organism from a single cell of an old organism. In part, this requires that the cell used for cloning be able to revert to the "primitive" state typical of an egg cell -- able to replicate and differentiate. This is particularly a challenge if the cell used for cloning is already differentiated.
- DNA and the genome
- A major news story over recent years has been the announcement of the genome sequence for humans. In fact, this project reached a symbolic completion point in April 2003. But this human genome work is just part of a much bigger story -- which includes a list of many completed genomes, for microbes, plants and animals. All this genome work is just the beginning; genome information alone does not solve anything in particular; it is a big resource that will make further biological work easier.
- Prion diseases have long fascinated biologists, because of the unusual nature of the infectious agent. Recently, prion diseases have become a major news story because of the emergence of the bovine (cow) prion disease BSE, which can be transmitted to humans as the disease vCJD.