December/January 2005 - International Technology and ...

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December/January 2005 - International Technology and ...

RESOURCES IN TECHNOLOGYClass Activity: Become ASavvy BioconsumerStandards for Technological Literacy(ITEA, 2000/2002) explains theimportance of bio-related technologieswith regard to technological literacy.Unfortunately, the study of biotechnologyat the secondary levelwithin the United States is almostnon-existent (Sanders, 2001). Perhapsthis is because areas such as modernbioprospecting are evolving at a rapidpace. Another reason might be thecomplex relationships that make upthe field of biotechnology (i.e.interaction of agriculture, biology,chemistry, medicine, and engineering).The two following activities aredesigned to help teachers andstudents learn how bio-relatedtechnologies are used commercially.Product labels do not often listspecific organisms because manytimes the ingredients are proprietary.Therefore, you must develop adifferent set of bioprospecting skills byusing research to learn about theseproducts and processes. Have fundigging!1. Review Table 1 and search forproducts that fit one or more of thedescriptions in the applicationscolumn. Try to determine whichextremophile(s) were used in theproduct or manufacturing process.For example, Shout ® Gel is alaundry detergent that usesenzymes to remove stains fromclothing. This means it probablyincorporates alkaliphiles,acidophiles, and/or thermophileseither directly in the product or theextremophiles were used duringmanufacture of the product.Learning about these organismswill not only help you withimportant things like removingtough grass stains; it will greatlyincrease your technological literacyin the area of bio-relatedtechnologies!2. Visit the United States RegulatoryAgencies Unified BiotechnologyWeb site that is highlighted inFigure 2. Search the database forgenetically-modified crop plants.Brand names are typically notprovided, but the database listsmanufacturers and describesproduct traits. As you review thisdatabase and manufacturers’ Websites you will learn howbioprospectors alter biologicalmaterial for use in products. Forexample, Monsanto’s RoundupReady® line of seeds makes theplants in that line more receptive toRoundup Ultra® herbicide.Monsanto has altered a gene to be“herbicide tolerant” rather thanmaking the plant stronger via thetraditional method of crosspollination.The benefits arestronger plants and greater yields,but a drawback is the continueddependence on herbicide.ReferencesBarnum, S. R. (1998). Biotechnology: Anintroduction. Belmont, CA: WadsworthPublishing Company.De Miranda, M. A. (2004). Ethical issues inbiotechnology. In R. B. Hill (Ed.) Councilon Technology Teacher EducationYearbook: Volume 53. Ethics forcitizenship in a technological world.Peoria, IL: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.Discover. (1993). For this you need anM.D.? (chicken soup proven effectiveagainst cold and flu). New York, NY:The Walt Disney Company.Graham, J. R. (2002). Bioprospecting orbiopiracy? Fraser Forum, December, 19-20. Retrieved September 28, 2004 fromwww.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/chapterfiles/Bioprospecting or Biopiracy-Graham.pdf#International Technology EducationAssociation (ITEA). (2000/2002).Standards for technological literacy:Content for the study of technology.Reston, VA: Author.Malony, S. (2004). Extremophiles:Bioprospecting for antimicrobials.Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy,August. Retrieved September 28, 2004from www.mediscover.net/Extremophiles.cfmMorris, B. (1995). Biotechnology. HongKong, China: Cambridge UniversityPress.National Park Service. (2004). Benefitssharing in the national parks:Environmental impact statement.Retrieved September 28, 2004 fromwww.nature.nps.gov/benefitssharing/index.htmRifkin, J. (1998). The biotech century. NewYork, NY: Penguin Putnam, Inc.Sanders, M. E. (2001). New paradigm orold wine? The status of technologyeducation in the United States.Retrieved September 28, 2004 fromhttp://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v12n2/sanders.htmlPhilip A. Reed,Ph.D. is an assistantprofessor in theDarden College ofEducation at OldDominion Universityin Norfolk, VA. Hecan be reached viae-mail atpreed@odu.edu.18 December/January 2005 • THE TECHNOLOGY TEACHER

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