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BIOLOGY 101- Presentation: Innovations in Biology and Technology

Aug 7, 2023


Presentation: Innovations in Biology and Technology: Summary of Instructions:

In this assignment, you will be creating a presentation on innovations in biology and technology. You will be submitting it into your assignment folder as a video link of your narrated PowerPoint presentation, and a Word document of your narration (your “speaker’s notes) which will be reviewed for similarity by Turnitin. Instructions on how to complete this procedure can be found below.

This assignment addresses course outcomes 1-4:

  • recognize and explain how the scientific method is used to solve problems.
  • make observations and discriminate between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations.
  • weigh evidence and make decisions based on strengths and limitations of scientific knowledge and the scientific method.
  • use knowledge of biological principles, the scientific method, and appropriate technologies to ask relevant questions, develop hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, interpret results, and draw conclusions.

Select one of the following 5 topics for your assignment: 

  1. a) Vaccines. Your friend is worried about the many vaccines that his newborn son is scheduled to receive and asks you for advice since you are taking a biology course. Start with an explanation of how vaccines work. Briefly contrast the traditional methods used to create vaccines with more recently used biotechnology techniques, including the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Explain how the mRNA vaccines work based on your knowledge of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology. What are some of the diseases that infants and children in the US are routinely vaccinated against? How have vaccinations impacted the frequency of these diseases over the past 100 years? Why are some people worried about giving their children vaccines? Why do some people believe that the MRR vaccine can cause autism? Is there scientific evidence to support these concerns? Conclude with advice to your friend in regard to getting the recommended vaccines based on what you learned from reliable information sources.
  2. b) Personal Genomics. Services like 23andMe and Ancestry have made it possible – even popular – for the average person to obtain in-depth information about their genome, including details like food allergies, drug sensitivities, and disease risks.  There are even add-on sites that will take this information and generate elaborate reports, such as Promesthease. Describe how this data is obtained, and what it actually includes. Start your explanation with a basic description of DNA and how genes control our traits (the Central Dogma). Use information from the course readings, at least one service provider (e.g., 23&Me, Ancestry), and additional information resources.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of this easy, rapid, and affordable access to genomic data?  What are the social implications, in terms of benefits and risks?  Is Genome Privacy (restricting access to an individual’s private genomic data) a potential issue, and if so, how?  If you, or someone you know, have had your own genome analyzed, discuss the thought process that led you (or them) to do so, and share how you felt when you found your results. If you haven’t, discuss why or why you would not want to have this information.
  3. c) Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) have been the most recent breakthrough discovery in bioengineering that enables scientists to edit DNA. Because you have studied biology in this course, you have volunteered at your niece’s Middle School Science Club to monitor a student debate about CRISPR. The students will be watching the following video before the discussion. You need to be prepared in case there are any questions. Please research and write an answer to each of the following questions: What is “CRISPR”? What role does Cas9 play in the CRISPR process? How does the CRISPR-Cas9 system snip and replace any DNA sequence? What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of gene editing? Include specific examples. Do you believe that the inherent risks of modifying DNA are worth the rewards? Explain. Do you believe that it is ethical to genetically engineer animals and humans? Explain.

d)Bioprinting. Your father has been on a waitlist for a new kidney for several years, but no match has been found. You hear about bioprinting on the news and decide to do some research so you can tell him about it. Start with an explanation of what bioprinting is, and how the process works. Relate it to what you have learned about cells, tissues, and organs. What are the benefits of bioprinting? What are the current challenges? What are stem cells and how can they be used for bioprinting? What is bioink and how is it used for bioprinting? Include a least two examples of current research in this field, and conclude with predictions for the future. Finally, do you believe that your father could benefit from this technology in his lifetime?

  1. e) Human-caused global climate change isthe biggest environmental challenge we are faced with today. Your aunt is a climate skeptic and you have decided to use your understanding of science to explain to her why the earth’s climate is changing, describe the major biological effects of climate change, and discuss how technology can be a solution to this problem. You should start with a brief description of the greenhouse effect and how carbon dioxide is a natural part of the carbon cycle. Then explain how our use of fossil fuels is disrupting the carbon cycle and enhancing the greenhouse effect. You may want to look ahead to the Week 7 readings for this information. What are the major ecological effects associated with climate change? What are the human health concerns associated with climate change? Describe at least one example of each. And finally, what can we do to reduce our impact on the climate through technological innovation? Include a description of a minimum of two technological solutions.

Presentation: Innovations in Biology and Technology


The aim of this presentation is to describe the various facets of Vaccination as a mode to prevent diseases. Through this presentation, the necessity of vaccines, when it comes to a newborn baby is being analyzed. The presentation provides a discussion about the functioning of vaccines. It also attempts to point out the progress vaccinations as a process has made, in terms of their making and manufacturing. The distinct differences between the methodologies used in the past and now in the present, especially taking into consideration, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, have been elaborated. The tools and the system in place used to manufacture these vaccines are explained on the basis of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology. Apart from Covid, other diseases, which the vaccines are used to prevent, have also been scrutinized. The impact of vaccines on the medical industry over the course of the last century is investigated. The legitimate concerns that many parents are raising when it comes to vaccination have also been provided. The narrative behind MRR vaccines causing Autism has been probed.


Vaccination as a process to prevent diseases is not a new phenomenon in human history. The first instance of its application was found to be in Buddhist Monks, who drank snake venom to fight against snake bites. Edward Jenner developed a native method into a biological application by showing immunization in a 13-year-old boy, from smallpox, by inoculating him with the vaccinia virus (cowpox) (Rees, 2022, p.48). The technique implemented by Jenner was used by authorities to begin smallpox immunization on a mass level. This ultimately culminated in the global eradication of smallpox as a disease. The success of the vaccinia virus brought the method mainstream success. Then, it was followed by more successful outcomes in the form of the Plague vaccine and Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin (BCG), which further increased the method’s fame.

It was at the turn of the 20th century that people began to question the legitimacy of vaccination as a method. This inquisitive attitude came up mainly because of the mistrust authoritative bodies of that time had invited upon themselves, due to their actions. Since vaccinations were mostly conducted by Governments across the world, the mistrust passed on to these procedures, as well. People began to be more careful about what the government was instructing them to put inside their bodies. Individuals conducted private investigations, about the vaccines and according to the results, came to their own conclusion, free of any authoritative influence.

Discussion: Working Mechanism of Vaccines   

Essentially the vaccines are made of the components, present in the organism, causing the disease. The vaccines carry the incapacitated parts of the organism in question. The incapacitated parts or antigens work to cause a trigger in the immune system of the body. This immune response prepares a defense system that eventually helps the anatomy to protect itself from any future attacks of the organism (Weidenbacher & Kim, 2019, p.9950). Newer innovations in vaccines have created a method in which the vaccines do not need to have the antigens, but only a blueprint that will instruct the medicine to produce the antigens inside the body. Doing so decreases the chance of any fatal danger. The aim is to produce a reaction from the immune system that matches the caliber of response the system would have produced if it would have been attacked by the pathogen for the first time.

The contrast between the traditional and present methods of creating a vaccine

One of the basic methods of creating a vaccine is by weakening the organism. The virus or bacteria is weakened. In a weakened state, such organisms reproduce at a very slow rate. The technique of slow reproduction is used for vaccines for diseases like measles, oral polio, and chickenpox. The slow reproduction rate induces action in the ‘memory B cells of the human body. These cells store information about the virus and then react accordingly when attacked by it.

Another primitive procedure is the technique of Inactivation. Inactivation is a bigger step in progress, compared to weakening, as it doesn’t even have a chance of producing a mild effect of the virus. Hepatitis A and rabies disease are fought in this way. These vaccines aim to ‘kill’ any present or future effects of the virus from the body. These vaccines create cells inside the body that prevent such diseases from happening.

Biotechnology is the assimilation of organisms and technology. Here, technology is applied in the functioning of various cells, tissues, and organisms to produce desirous results. In vaccination, Biotechnology is used either to improve or develop the methodologies of vaccines (Schoenmaker et al. 2021, p.10). One of the initial ways biotechnology made a difference in vaccines, was when a monoclonal antibody was used to separate a pure antigen. After the success acquired by this method, a cloned gene was used to synthesize an antigen. Ultimately, peptides were synthesized and applied as vaccines.

Recently the procedure of synthesis garnered wide application, after being used experimentally in the creation of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines. In mRNA vaccines, the constituent element is messenger RNA. The function of this messenger RNA is encoding. The encoding is primarily done by genes. This gene is for virus-surface protein. All of this happens for the host’s body cells. This technique allows vaccines to come up with a synthetically developed genetic blueprint, which instructs human cells to produce their own antigen-like virus protein (Lane, 2020, p.1247). After the creation of this protein, a response is triggered in the immune system. In the lab, these vaccines are created with the help of a chemical reaction to induce the synthesis, after which they are efficiently delivered in the shape of a lipid Nano-droplet to the cells.

Diseases against which infants and children are vaccinated in the US

Presently, the US has standardized the application and usage of 10 vaccines in the country for children. These vaccines include hepatitis A (HepA); hepatitis B (HepB); RV; diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP); Hib; PCV13; inactivated poliovirus (IPV); inactivated influenza (IIV) or live-attenuated influenza (LAIV); measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); and varicella (VAR) (Hasbun et al. 2019, p.40). These vaccines are used to fight diseases like Hepatitis, tetanus, polio, measles, and mumps. Many of these vaccines are created using traditional methods but are slowly getting impacted by biotechnology. Polio vaccine uses the method of inactivation, and therefore completely removes any chance of the disease happening in the body. The hepatitis B vaccine protects the human body by inducing the immune system to generate its own antibodies against the disease.

Impact of Vaccination on the frequency of these diseases

The polio outbreak on a huge scale was first noticed in the 1940s. During that era, the disease polio affected 35,000 people each year. Due to this condition, a situation of pandemic came about, in which officials began to impose quarantines, to protect the safe people. People finally found solace in this disease when Polio vaccines came out (Nisar, 2021, p.4). These vaccines and the brilliant way they were manufactured and distributed by the government helped in the curbing of this disease. This massive effort has led to the complete eradication, of the disease, from the US. For the last 30 years, the country has not witnessed any year-round transmissions, and since 1979 there has been no native case of Polio in the country.

In the past, Hepatitis B was a frequent occurrence in America. It was noticed in a large quantity, in receivers of the yellow fever vaccine. Its largest presence was found in US Army in 1942 with almost 50,000 clinical cases. Nationwide, it was estimated that there was a presence of 280,000 unrecognized infections. Now the situation has come under control mainly due to the innovation of vaccines. Presently there are 240 million chronic HBV carriers. But these carriers are prevented from spreading this disease with the help of vaccines. This vaccine was produced with the help of gene technology. These vaccines stop the transfer of disease from the carrier to the child but fail to completely cure HBV infections in the patients.

Issues of Parents in administering vaccines to their children

As mentioned earlier the involvement of the government in the process of vaccination is a huge factor in the unwillingness many parents are showing. Several independent studies have brought out factors of concern related to many vaccines. One such concern is that MMR vaccines cause Autism (Majid & Ahmad, 2020, p.1764). Apart from concerns regarding safety, some parents are unwilling to make their children go through vaccination because of personal, and religious reasons. Many Orthodox Protestant parents refuse to take or give their children vaccines because they feel it is a way of interfering with the divine providence of God. Philosophical or personal beliefs are attached to the values to which humans adhere in their life. Some parents prefer natural immunity compared to acquired immunity from vaccines.

MMR Vaccine can cause autism

The narrative of the MMR Vaccine causing Autism was started by a Medical journal in 1998 that issued a false connection between MRR or Rubella vaccine and Autism. Later when the falsehood was proven, the issue was redacted, but the doubt remained in the heart of parents (DeStefano & Shimabukuro, 2019, p.592). Autism is a neurological disorder that has a heavy dependence on genesis that occurs before a child turns one. The vaccine is administered after the child attains the age of one. Hence, there is no connection between the condition and the vaccine. The report caused a hesitancy within the parents which has led to a sudden surge of measles amongst the population.


Vaccination is a vital component in the upbringing of children. Children need to garner all the standardized vaccines to gain protection against diseases like polio, measles, and hepatitis. These vaccines have and continue to provide protection against diseases that, in the past caused havoc in the human population. Though as a parent one should not leave their inquisitiveness behind. The research should not be guided by unreasonable fears. Multiple sources just for the cause of sensation spread meaningless news. Parents should be aware of such information, and make their decision accordingly.  If they decide to not undertake a vaccine, they should find other methods of building immunity in their child against the disease.

Reference List

DeStefano, F., & Shimabukuro, T. T. (2019). The MMR vaccine and autism. Annual review of virology, 6, 585-600.

Hasbun, R., Wootton, S. H., Rosenthal, N., Balada-Llasat, J. M., Chung, J., Duff, S., … & Ginocchio, C. C. (2019). Epidemiology of meningitis and encephalitis in infants and children in the United States, 2011–2014. The Pediatric infectious disease journal, 38(1), 37-41.

Lane, R. (2020). Sarah Gilbert: carving a path towards a COVID-19 vaccine. The lancet, 395(10232), 1247.

Majid, U., & Ahmad, M. (2020). The factors that promote vaccine hesitancy, rejection, or delay in parents. Qualitative Health Research, 30(11), 1762-1776.

Nisar, M. (2021). History of Polio eradication: Polio eradication. International Journal of Science, Management and Advanced Research Technology, 1(1), 2-5.

Rees, A. R. (2022). A New History of Vaccines for Infectious Diseases: Immunization-Chance and Necessity. Academic Press.

Schoenmaker, L., Witzigmann, D., Kulkarni, J. A., Verbeke, R., Kersten, G., Jiskoot, W., & Crommelin, D. J. (2021). mRNA-lipid nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccines: Structure and stability. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 601, 120586.

Weidenbacher, P. A., & Kim, P. S. (2019). Protect, modify, deprotect (PMD): A strategy for creating vaccines to elicit antibodies targeting a specific epitope. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(20), 9947-9952.

PPT Attached 

Innovations in Biology and Technology


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