These explorations are intended to expand your understanding of the biological basis of humans and all other living things. Use your favorite Internet search programs to roam around the World Wide Web and discover what other people who have interest in these subjects have said to explain and support their views. Seek out reliable, factual sources. Do not stop at just two or three. It is worth the extra time to thoroughly research these questions and get views on all sides of the issues.
Questions to Explore
1. Search the Internet for information about the Human Genome Project. What were these scientists trying to do before 2001, and what are they trying to do now? What are the potential benefits to science, medicine, and human life? How do the goals and scientific approaches of the publicly funded universities working on this project differ from those of the privately-funded research companies that are also involved?
2. Search the Internet for scientific information about the use of DNA as evidence in criminal and civil cases. Is this evidence as unequivocal and clear-cut as the popular press often implies? How could making your personal DNA information publicly available be harmful to you? HINT: Think about what would happen if your boss or the government had access to this information.
3. Look on the Internet for information about harmful or inconvenient sex-linked traits. What specifically do the authors of these sites suggest that individuals who carry the genes for these traits do to avoid having children who will inherit them?
4. Search the Internet for information about the epigenome of humans. Who is doing research in this new area and what are they focusing on? What do they hope to do with this information?
Help Getting Started
If you have not been satisfied with the search programs that you have used in the past, try one of the following. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, none of them can link you to everything available on the Web today because of the rapid growth of sites and the way search engines selectively exclude certain kinds of sites.
Old Standby General
If you don't have success searching with these programs, take a look at the Related Internet Links section of this tutorial.
CAUTION: In doing your searches, keep in mind that not everything on the Web is accurate, current, or true. To help discover which sites can be trusted and which ones cannot, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who are the authors of the site? What are their credentials? Are they experts? 2. Is the information current? When was the website created and last updated? 3. Do the facts presented in the site seem correct? 4. Is the purpose of the site to objectively inform and explain or to persuade and sell a particular perspective?
Copyright © 2000-2012 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.