Biology discussion due 10/27/2018 by 10:00pm

“Synthetic chromosomes, Transcriptomes, and Patents on BRCA genes”

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For your primary post, please respond to one of the following three topics with a post of at least 125 words that addresses each point given in the instructions. Also, please reply to at least one fellow student on any topic.

Topic 1 [videos]:  It’s parent was a computer file. Watch the short video about organism with the synthetic chromosome that was created at the Craig Venter Institute (1)* and the video about the “streamlined” version that organism(2)*.   Subsequently, answer the following:

  • (a) How does the DNA in the synthetic organisms differ from DNA in naturally-occurring microorganisms?
  • (b) What do you think we’ve learned from these experiments?
  • (c) In your opinion, what are the inherent risks of this research to human health or to the environment, if any?

Topic 2 [article]: Transcriptomes. The complete set of all DNA in a cell is called the genome. The complete set of all the mRNA in a cell is called the transcriptome. Read the following article about the transcriptome (1)*, then address the following:

  • (a)  What does the transcriptome tell us that we can’t get from the genome? 
  • (b)  If we compare the transcriptome between cells that have completely different functions in the body, how do you think they would compare?
  • (c) Explain how this concept relates to our lesson on gene expression from Chapter 7.

Topic 3 [research]: Patent protection for BRCA genes. On the Internet, read one or more articles about how the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in the caseof Association for Molecular Pathology versus Myriad Genetics. In your answer, you must give credit to your source(s). Your answer must address the following:

  • (a) Describe some of the major reasons why the plaintiffs objected to Myriad’s patent on the breast cancer-related genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2.
  • (b) Describe the SCOTUS ruling regarding naturally-occuring DNA sequences, as well as their ruling regarding DNA sequences that do not exist in Nature.

Note: the rulings of lower courts are NOTof interest for our purposes. Please concentrate only on SCOTUS’s ruling. The objective here is to emphasize the precedent-setting ruling of the highest court (SCOTUS), rather than to recount the litigation history. 

  • (c) What is your view on the issue of whether we should allow human genes to be patented?
  • Be absolutely sure that you cite your sources, and list your references. 

References (in this Standards format).

  1. Associated Press, May 20, 2010. Scientists make synthetic cell using manmade DNA., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyAOepIU6uo
  2. Newsy Science, March 25, 2016. Synthetic life has been streamlined and is ready to be put to work., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saaWTiQie0M
  3. National Human Genome Research Institute, August 27, 2015, Transcriptome, https://www
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