Kingwood College Library

Genetic Technology

Assignment Guide | Biology 1408 | Professor Dian Petty 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 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 impacts 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 dont want to accidentally plagiarize anything! KEYWORDS: microbial bioremediation; oil spills, bacteria, Exxon Valdes, oil-eating bacteria


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 dont 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 dont 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 animals 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 dont want to accidentally plagiarize anything! KEYWORDS: transgenic animals; lactoferrin; lactotransferrin; human proteins


librarian.jpg (4337 bytes) 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.



librarian.jpg (4337 bytes) Librarian Talk . . . About  Books

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 at

Online books are available at NetLibrary.. You will need your bar code for login to create an account. Netlibrary has many books on genetic engineering and biotechnology.

Books are a great place to find an overview of a subject. To find books, use general keywords such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, or cloning.

TP248.23 .Y684 2000 Biotechnology and genetic engineering / Lisa Yount.  
TP248.215 .B56 2000   Biotechnology / edited by Lynn Messina
TP248.65.F66 M37 2000 Pandora's picnic basket : the potential and hazards of genetically modified foods / Alan McHughen
TP248.2 .B574 1996 Biotechnology : science, engineering, and ethical challenges for the twenty-first century / Frederick B. Rudolph and Larry V. McIntire, editors.

Another excellent source to get an overview of your topic with background, statistics, and controversies is the journal CQ Researcher. There is one issue entitled Biotech Foods and another called Oil Spills.



librarian.jpg (4337 bytes) Librarian Talk . . . About Finding Articles

Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and 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 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. HINT: For a full list of article databases, go to and use your library card to access these full-text databases from home.

Academic Search Premier | Collection of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. Many scholarly.

PA Research II/ProQuest | Collection of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. Many scholarly.

Opposing Viewpoints | Not only does this database have articles, it also has reference materials and pro and con commentary.

Today's Science | From you can find science articles and science encyclopedia essays.



librarian.jpg (4337 bytes) Librarian Talk . . . About the Internet


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

  1. Accuracy
  2. Source - 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.

UNACCEPTABLE SOURCE SAMPLE - This appears to be part of a book, but there is nothing we can see that tells you title, author, dates, publisher or any of the other needed information. 

Suggested Web Sites

Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research |  A Department of Energy program devoted to provide information on the fundamental science of bioremediation. has a bioremediation site, too.

Environmental Microbiology  |  An annotated bibliography from

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | expert on the environment has links to information on bovine growth hormone, safety of bioengineered foods, herbicide resistant crops/Roundup, and more.

Ethics in Biotechnology |   Another expert on biotechnology has links about ethics.


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

Misuse of Sources | Harvard University excellent brief essay on how to avoid plagiarism. Excellent list of 'how to' and 'how to avoid'.

Online Tutoring | Kingwood College faculty offer free tutoring via email.  They will email or call with answers to your questions.

The Learning Center   |   Check our learning center formerly ASC hours for in-house tutoring.

Attach your paper to and email to , Assistant Dean. Dr. Terry or one of the writing tutors will read through your paper and make brief comments on your paper and return it to you.

REMEMBER, the expert on this paper is your Professor Petty.

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 Page by created Oct. 2002
updated Feb. 13,  2003