Advanced Biology

In this yearlong Advanced Biology course, students will learn the foundations of biotechnology. The course begins with a review of cellular biology focusing on molecular genetics. Students will conduct experiments such as DNA extraction, DNA fingerprinting, bacterial transformation, DNA analysis using gene chip and mitochondrial DNA sequencing. Students will conduct background research for the labs by reading scientific articles and other primary and secondary sources.

Students will be able to: design and conduct experiments using biotechnology; collect, organize and present data; explain and interpret results; use software such as Microsoft Excel to arrange and display data; explain experimental error and further research questions.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of biotechnology techniques such as DNA extraction, DNA isolation using gel electrophoresis, DNA amplification using polymerase chain reaction, DNA purification and DNA sequencing. Students will understand that the scientific process involves oral and written presentations and peer review. In addition, students will experience and discuss the importance of collaboration in scientific research.

Readings: 
Glencoe. (2009). Glencoe Science Biology Student Edition. New York: Glencoe.
Micklos, D. A. (2003). DNA Science: A First Course, Second Edition. Cold Spring Harbor: Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory Press.
Significant Activities or Projects: 

• DNA Extractions – Students learn techniques for extracting DNA from cheek cells, wheat germ, strawberries, and other organic substances.

• Bacterial Transformation – Students will genetically engineer the E.coli bacteria to uptake genes for antibiotic resistance and bioluminescence.

• Forensic DNA Profiling – Students will examine the variable tandem repeat polymorphism. They will amplify the polymorphic locus and use a DNA chip to determine their genotype. Students will also use population genetics to calculate the frequency of their genotype.

• Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing – Students will isolate, amplify, and sequence a small region of their mitochondrial DNA. They will then compare their sequence to their classmates (who are all recent immigrants from around the world).

Sample PBATs: 
Mitochondrial DNA Project: Students will conduct background research on the origin of modern humans, exploring both the Multi-Regional and Out of Africa theories. Students will use this information to form a hypothesis about which students in the class will be most closely related. They will then analyze their mitochondrial DNA sequences to determine if the data supports their hypothesis. Students will submit a written lab report and defend their results orally to a panel of students, teachers and external evaluators.