Biology 1408: Genetic Technology - LSC-Kingwood
 Biology 1408 | Professor Dian Petty

The best library assignments are ones that use a variety of resources including books, newspaper and journal articles, internet sites, and even videos or audiocassettes. We encourage you to use all of these sources for this paper. Books should provide some excellent background on your topic. You may apply for a library card and request materials online. We hope you will take full advantage of the many resources our libraries offer.

Please contact Lone Star College-Kingwood Librarians or Professor Petty with any questions you may have during your research. 

  ASSIGNMENT: Genetic Technology

(used with permission from Activity Manual to Accompany Biology: The Network of Life,
by Michael C. Mix, Paul Farber, and Keith King, 1993 HarperCollins College Publishers, New York.)

In Chapter 15, genetic technologies and some of the emerging issues related to genetic technology are discussed. Genetic technologies currently under investigation or development include gene cloning, recombinant DNA technology, gene therapy, and the genetic engineering of bacteria, plants and animals. With respect to genetic engineering, the regulatory responsibilities in the United States are divided among several agencies. At the present time in the U.S., policies pertaining to certain aspects of genetic engineering are still being developed. In a very real sense, politicians make policies about the uses of technologies developed in science. Consequently, educated citizens will have significant impact on the decision-making process involved in policy formulation in these areas. Also, several relevant laws state that the public must be allowed an opportunity to make their feelings known before policies are formulated.

1. Oil-digesting bacteria

Bacteria have been created that can break down oil, including oil spilled in the natural environment. Assume that you live in a community located on a bay that has been inundated with oil spilled from a tanker. Should these bacteria be used? Should the application of the genetically engineered bacteria or bacteria enhanced by a recombinant DNA technology product be allowed? Why? Why not? What do you consider to be the benefits? Are there any risks or problems? Explain. Be sure to cite your web references – you don’t want to accidentally plagiarize anything!
KEYWORDS: microbial bioremediation; oil spills, bacteria, Exxon Valdes, oil-eating bacteria, Deepwater Horizon.

 2. Herbicide-resistant Wheat

Should wheat farmers be allowed to plant a newly developed strain of wheat in their fields that tolerates an herbicide that is widely used to control weeks? Should the use of the genetically engineered wheat products be allowed on the market? Why? Why not? What do you consider to be the benefits? Are there any risks or problems? Explain. Be sure to cite your web references – you don’t want to accidentally plagiarize anything!
KEYWORDS: genetically altered foods, genetically engineered wheat; herbicide-resistant wheat; roundup

 3. Bovine Growth Hormone-Enhanced Dairy Cows

Bovine (cow) growth hormone (BGH) has been manufactured using recombinant DNA technology. By regularly injecting dairy cows with BGH, it is anticipated that their milk production would increase by 10-40%. Would you allow the use of this hormone for increasing milk production in the U.S.? Why? Why not? What do you consider to be the benefits? Are there any risks or problems? Explain. Be sure to cite your web references – you don’t want to accidentally plagiarize anything!
KEYWORDS: milk production, food safety; bovine growth hormone; dairy industry

4. Cows or Other Mammals That Secrete Human Proteins in Their Milk

At present, transgenic goats, pigs, and cows are being developed that contain genes encoding rare human proteins. If incorporated correctly into the animal’s genome, these genes will be expressed and the human proteins will be secreted in their milk. Human lactotransferrin is a protein that has roles in iron metabolism, blood cell formation, and immune reactions. Should approval be given to market human proteins such as lactotransferrin produced by dairy cows? Why? Why not? Most of it would probably be used as a supplement in baby formulas and as a treatment for immune-deficient patients, such as people who have AIDS. What do you consider it benefits? Are there any risks? Be sure to cite your web references – you don’t want to accidentally plagiarize anything!
KEYWORDS: transgenic animals; lactoferrin; lactotransferrin; human proteins

Librarian Talk . . . About Getting Started

As you begin, narrow your topic to a size that you can manage.  Consider keywords that will help you find the information you need. These can be names of people, events, or broader identifying terms.  Use these keywords for locating information in the library catalog, electronic databases, and on the internet. See above topics for some ideas for keywords.

More about Choosing Keywords (30 sec.)


Librarian Talk . . . About  Books and Videos

Apply online for a library card.   Use your card to 1) Place a Hold on a book  2) Access databases from home. The catalog is online.

Online books are available in the eBook Collection (formerly NetLibrary).  You will need the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to view eBooks from off-campus. The eBook Collection has many books on genetic engineering and biotechnology.

Online streaming videos may be found by searching Films on Demand. Search by keyword to watch brief clips from a film or view the film in its entirety.

More about...Finding Books (31 sec.)

Books and videos are great places to find an overview of a subject. To find books, use general keywords such as biotechnology, bioremediation, genetic engineering, or cloning. For up-to-date information, look for recently published or produced titles. To update the information in books and films, search for articles from our databases.


QH438.7 .B37 Just genes : The ethics of genetic technologies / Carol Isaacson Barash (2008).

QH442. N465 2010 DNA technology: A reference handbook / David E. Newton (2010).

Ref HN59 .I5 G4 Genetics and genetic engineering [Information Plus reference series] / (2011)

S494.5.B563 C86   Uncertain peril: Genetic engineering and the future of seeds / Claire Hope Cummings (2008).

SB123.57 .T494 Seeds for the future : The impact of genetically modified crops on the environment / Jennifer Thomson (2007).

TP248.23 .R55  Rights and liberties in the biotech age: Why we need a genetic Bill of Rights /  Sheldon Krimsky and Peter Shorett, Eds. (2005).

TP248.23 .Y684 Biotechnology and genetic engineering / Lisa Yount (2008)

eBook Collection 

Biotech industry: A global, economic and financing overview / Bryan P. Bergeron and Paul Chan (2004).  

Genetic engineering: A reference handbook / Harry Levine (2006). (also available in book form)

Germs, genes, and bacteria: How they influence modern life / David Clark et al. (2011)

Biotechnology: Our future as human beings and citizens / Sean D. Sutton, Ed. (2009). (also available in book form)

Videos from Films on Demand

Isolation of DNA (Running time: 02:01). From: The chemistry of life: Milestones in genetics (Running time: 52:00). Films Media Group. 2009.

What is Cloning? (Running time: 1:44). From: Designer genes: The science and ethics of genetic engineering. (Running time: 29:00) Films Media Group. 2008.


Librarian Talk . . . About Finding Journal Articles!

Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use your updated library card to login to the following databases. If you find an interesting article that is not full-text, please give the correct bibliographic information to our Reference Librarians and they will see that you get the article. They will need full bibliographic information - and your name and address. Send your phone number as well, so they can contact you if they need to. There is some overlap of articles in the following databases. However, we encourage you to use more than one. All are excellent sources for this topic. 

HINT: For a full list of article databases, go to and use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card for login.
More about searching databases (25 sec.)

Academic Search Complete - Collection of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. Many scholarly.

GreenFile - Scholarly, general interest and government periodicals. Select 'full-text' check box to find articles that link to the article text.

Opposing ViewpointsNot only does this database have articles, it also has reference materials and pro and con commentary.

Librarian Talk . . . About the Internet!

The Internet will be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember, you do want to find reputable sites. Look at:

  1. Accuracy - The information should be researched and show proof that it was.
  2. Source - Who wrote the information? Look at the domain.  .edu .gov. org .net are valid research sources.
  3. Authority - What are the author's credentials?  (Don't quote from another college freshman's paper.)
  4. Coverage - Does the page have the information you need for your research?
  5. Objectivity - If a work is biased, use it - just make sure your professor knows YOU know. And offer both sides of issues, where applicable.
More about finding internet sources (25 sec.)

Suggested Web Sites (Hint:  Look for a search box, especially for general science websites.)

Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research  is a Department of Energy program devoted to provide information on the fundamental science of bioremediation.

Hydrologix Systems shows Bioremediation in action.

Agriculture Network Information Center is a database of information on agricultural technology.

National Institutes of Health  features current studies, clinical trials, and research results.

Food and Drug Administration  includes  risk assessment on cloning and on bioengineered foods.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program features news on the latest hazardous and oil spill incidents, a glossary of terms and links to other related government and agency websites. - Indexes government information. Most of the results are abstracts.

Scirus  - Use this search engine to find science-related information on the internet.


Librarian Talk about getting help!

Support for a successful paper is more than finding the right resources. Putting it all together takes time and effort. Sometimes it takes additional help from the librarians or tutors. Please consider the following resources if you need additional help. Remember, the expert on the assignment is your professor; use the LSC-Online in-class email to contact her.

More about getting help (25 sec.)


Citing Sources Using the Library MLA Style Guide | Lone Star College - Kingwood Library guide. Examples of both paper and electronic citations.

Learning  Center   |   Check our hours for in-house tutoring.

Page by Claire Gunnels created Oct. 2002. Updated sg 6/2012.

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