Acknowledgement to our mentors:
Bonacum, James (2002) Lecture, Technical Assistance.
American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY.
DeSalle, Robert (2002) Personal Interview. Curator of the
American Museum of Natural History and Co-Director of the
Molecular Systematics Lab, New York, NY.
Zilversmit, Martine (2002) Unpublished Data, Technical
Assistance. Graduate Student, Harvard University, Cambridge,
For More Information:
Cummings, CJ, and Zoghbi, HY, (2000),"Trinucleotide Repeats: Mechanisms and
Pathophsiology," Annual Review of Genomics Human Generation, v.1, pp. 281-328.
Jackson, George R., Slacker, Iris, Dong, Xinzhong, Yao, Xiang, Arnheim,
Norman, Faber, Peter W., MacDonald, Marcy E., & Zipursky, Lawrence, S.,
Polyglutamine (1998), - Expanded Human Huntington Transgenus Induce Degeneration of
Drisophila Photoreceptor Neurons. Neuron, v.21, pp. 633-642.
Usdin, K., and Grabczyk, (2000), "DNA Repeat Expansions and Human Disease," Cell
Medical Life Science, v. 57, pp.914-931.
addressed by these activities include:
Science as Inquiry
- Scientists usually inquire about how physical, living, or
designed systems function. Conceptual principles and knowledge
guide scientific inquiries. Historical and current scientific
knowledge influence the design and interpretation of
investigations and the evaluation of proposed explanations made
by other scientists.
- Scientists conduct investigations for a wide variety of
reasons. For example, they may wish to discover new aspects of
the natural world, explain recently observed phenomena, or test
the conclusions of prior investigations or the predictions of
- Scientists rely on technology to enhance the gathering and
manipulation of data. New techniques and tools provide new
evidence to guide inquiry and new methods to gather data,
thereby contributing to the advance of science. The accuracy and
precision of the data, and therefore the quality of the
exploration, depends on the technology used.
- Mathematics is essential in scientific inquiry. Mathematical
tools and models guide and improve the posing of questions,
gathering data, constructing explanations and communicating
- Scientific explanations must adhere to criteria such as: a
proposed explanation must be logically consistent; it must abide
by the rules of evidence; it must be open to questions and
possible modification; and it must be based on historical and
current scientific knowledge.
Content in Life Science:
- Cells store and use information to guide their functions.
The genetic information stored in DNA is used to direct the
synthesis of the thousands of proteins that each cell requires.
- Cell functions are regulated. Regulation occurs both through
changes in the activity of the functions performed by proteins
and through the selective expression of individual genes. This
regulation allows cells to respond to their environment and to
control and coordinate cell growth and division.
- In all organisms, the instructions for specifying the
characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA, a large
polymer formed from subunits of four kinds (A, G, C, and T). The
chemical and structural properties of DNA explain how the
genetic information that underlies heredity is both encoded in
genes (as a string of molecular "letters") and replicated (by a
templating mechanism). Each DNA molecule in a cell forms a
- Most of the cells in a human contain two copies of each of
22 different chromosomes. In addition, there is a pair of
chromosomes that determines sex: a female contains two X
chromosomes and a male contains one X and one Y chromosome.
Transmission of genetic information to offspring occurs through
egg and sperm cells that contain only one representative from
each chromosome pair. An egg and a sperm unite to form a new
individual. The fact that the human body is formed from cells
that contain two copies of each chromosome--and therefore two
copies of each gene--explains many features of human heredity,
such as how variations that are hidden in one generation can be
expressed in the next.
- Changes in DNA (mutations) occur spontaneously at low rates.
Some of these changes make no difference to the organism,
whereas others can change cells and organisms. Only mutations in
germ cells can create the variation that changes an organism's
Science and Technology
- Scientists in different disciplines ask different questions,
use different methods of investigation, and accept different
types of evidence to support their explanations. Many scientific
investigations require the contributions of individuals from
different disciplines, including engineering. New disciplines of
science, such as geophysics and biochemistry often emerge at the
interface of two older disciplines.
- Science often advances with the introduction of new
technologies. Solving technological problems often results in
new scientific knowledge. New technologies often extend the
current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new
areas of research.
- Creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all
required in the work of science and engineering.
- Science and technology are pursued for different purposes.
Scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the
natural world, and technological design is driven by the need to
meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology, by its
nature, has a more direct effect on society than science because
its purpose is to solve human problems, help humans adapt, and
fulfill human aspirations. Technological solutions may create
new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions that may
or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific
advances challenge people's beliefs and practical explanations
concerning various aspects of the world.
- Technological knowledge is often not made public because of
patents and the financial potential of the idea or invention.
Scientific knowledge is made public through presentations at
professional meetings and publications in scientific journals.
Science in Personal and Social Perspective
- The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many
factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the
disease-producing organism. Many diseases can be prevented,
controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from
specific body dysfunctions and cannot be transmitted.
Families serve basic health needs, especially
for young children. Regardless of the family structure,
individuals have families that involve a variety of physical,
mental, and social relationships that influence the maintenance
and improvement of health.
History and Nature of Science
- Individuals and teams have contributed and will continue to
contribute to the scientific enterprise. Doing science or
engineering can be as simple as an individual conducting field
studies or as complex as hundreds of people working on a major
scientific question or technological problem. Pursuing science
as a career or as a hobby can be both fascinating and
Scientists are influenced by societal, cultural, and
personal beliefs and ways of viewing the world. Science is not
separate from society but rather science is a part of society.
Because all scientific ideas depend on experimental and
observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in
principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available.
The core ideas of science such as the conservation of energy or
the laws of motion have been subjected to a wide variety of
confirmations and are therefore unlikely to change in the areas
in which they have been tested. In areas where data or
understanding are incomplete, such as the details of human
evolution or questions surrounding global warming, new data may
well lead to changes in current ideas or resolve current
conflicts. In situations where information is still fragmentary,
it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is
also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest.
- Species evolve over time. Evolution is the consequence of
the interactions of (1) the potential for a species to increase
its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to
mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the
resources required for life, and (4) the ensuing selection by
the environment of those offspring better able to survive and
- Biological classifications are based on how organisms are
related. Organisms are classified into a hierarchy of groups and
subgroups based on similarities which reflect their evolutionary
relationships. Species is the most fundamental unit of