Category Archives: biology

Which of your genes came from Neanderthals?

Livescience have an informative blog on Neanderthals. Create your own post using information from Livescience and other information sources. Be sure that your post is in your own words so that you do not plagiarise . Also make sure you acknowledge the places that you get information from.

Add a picture. Use Flickr to find and download your photo as Fickr allows you to find photos that are not restricted by copyright but are available as creative commons.

Click through to gathabiotens here or in the sidebar to follow the work of Year 10 students on this topic.


Genetic testing for predisposition to deep vein thrombosis.

This post was posted to the gathbiotens blog. Student responses are accessible by clicking through to the gathabiotens blog using the link in the sidebar.

When Emma asked if she could go on this new pill for her skin, the doctor took a blood sample “just for some routine tests”.

As the doctor was aware that there is a family history of DVT on Mrs Brown’s side of the family, she ordered a gene test for the Factor V Leiden gene alteration, as another risk factor associated with thrombosis is the oral contraceptive pill.

Women who take this pill have a 4 times greater risk of DVT. However, if they also have the Factor V Leiden gene change, their risk jumps even higher, maybe even up to 20 or 30 times.

Neither Emma nor her parents were aware that this gene test was being done. Discuss this scenario and thefollowing questions.

  1. Should the doctor have obtained informed consent from Emma before ordering this gene test? (Emma is only 15, a minor in the eyes of the law)
  2. Should the doctor have obtained informed consent from Emma’s mother (Gayle) before ordering the gene test?
  3. What consequences might this gene test have for Emma and/or her mother in terms of potential discrimination in life insurance and employment?
  4. If Emma wishes to become a pilot or airline steward, should she be obliged to tell her employer by law?

Consider all these questions in terms of the four principles of biomedical ethics: Benefits, harms, individual rights and justice.

Controlling Inheritance

Priorities for this week

1.    On our class blog leave at least two comments on another class members post.

•    The class blog is developing really well and starting to reflect the skills and knowledge of our group.
•    To develop as a learning community we need to learn how to make sensible and informative comments that build on other people’s blogs.
•    There are now guidelines to leaving comments at the top of the class blog. They are also on the back of this sheet.
•    You may leave a comment on someone else’s comment as long as it follows the guide lines
•    Leaving at least two comments is the number one priority this week.

2.    Listen to lesson 4.4 Controlling Inheritance on the screencast at the bottom of this post.
Using your earplugs (or headphones from  desk in the Science  Office) listen to the lesson introduction.

3.    Complete questions on Unit 4.4 up to 22 (you may do this as a word document pasted into your workbook or hand written)

4.    Update your previous blogs so that they include an image, some text and a phlog.

5.    Select two questions from 4.4. Develop your answers in more detail and post them on the class blog. Include an image, some text and a phlog.

This work should keep you busy if you are working effectively and thoroughly. If you are unsure about how to proceed with blogging, ask one of the people in the class who know!!

Watch the lesson introduction here. Please don’t be too harsh on me. I’m a learner too!

10 Biol Wk 7 Lesson – Chemical Code for Life

‘They used to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance of happiness. They don’t say that anymore.’

In the not-too-distant future, a less than perfect man wants to travel to the stars. Society has categorized Vincent Freeman as less than suitable given his genetic make-up and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. To move ahead, he assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow, a perfect genetic specimen who is a paraplegic as a result of a fall. With some professional advice, Vincent learns to deceive DNA and urine sample testing. When a colleague is killed he is finally scheduled for a space mission, but a colleague suspects his origins and the police begin an investigation.

‘Gattaca’ – this  lesson confirms the significance of the letters in the title of the film.

What features of the futuristic society portrayed in Gattaca did you notice that are different from our society today? Post your ideas on our wall at Wallwisher

Leave a comment by clicking on the Leave a comment’ tab below. In your comment explain what parts of the film you feel could become reality in the future. What parts of the film are unlikely to become fact? What do you think is going to happen next in the film.

Check out the comments that others have left. Leave a reply to at least two of your colleagues.

Now watch the lesson introduction.

Looking forward to reading your work, and your post on the class blog at  gathabiotens

Bozeman and the virtual classroom

I found Bozeman through Douchy who posted ‘Will School Become Redundant, Too?’ . On this post Douchy discusses the issue of whether schools will become redundant as online resources of this quality become freely available.

While I agree strongly with Douchy’s sentiments it needs to be remembered that, like myself, many teachers are products of the seventies teacher education practices where Ivan Illich’s book ‘De-schooling Society’ was popularly promoted as the way of the future. A full copy of the book is available online. Like so much of the idealism of that era (remember the copious leisure time that was to be delivered by computers), the notion of a de-schooled society has been buried in the neo-conservative economic paradigm.

Following the state wide student free day for teachers to be introduced to the ‘Ultranet’, an article in a Melbourne daily tabloid claimed that the student free day had cost the economy hundreds of thousands of dollars.

No matter how good our online resources large numbers of those in our society are not wanting to be encumbered by the burden of taking responsibility for their own children twenty-four hours a day.

I imagine schools will be around for a while yet!

Digestion for Beginners


Plastination is a technique used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample.

Plastinated man

Concern over consent of bodies being used in the plastination process has arisen. Over 20 years ago, von Hagens set up a body donation program in Germany and has signed over 9,000 donors into the plastinate program: 531 have already died. Although von Hagens says he follows strict consent procedures for whole-body specimens, he maintains that “consent is not important for body parts.” Von Hagens’ body donations are now being managed by the Institute for Plastination established in 1993.

Gunther von Hagens with plastinated horse and rider

Hardening and posturing plastinates

Pro – Con – Neutral

  1. Why would people be in favor of this?
  2. Why would people be against it?
  3. What would be a neutral position?
  4. Describe the sort of person do you think von Hagens is?

Watch the videos of Anatomy for Beginners

Did the videos change your view on von Hagen?