Biological Sciences-Latest News


Every day brings new discoveries from the global community
of scientists. Some of these make a splash in the general
media, while others quietly build foundations for the
future. Although it is impossible to predict what tomorrow’s
discoveries will be, some stories from the past might have
been: How do elephant matriarchs manage their sons?
How can one gene lessen the demand of rice agriculture
for nitrogen fertilizer? How do neural crest cells in the
embryo migrate to form muscle and pigment cells?

In this class we will take a more current look at biological
sciences. We will scan the recent weekly issues of
Science magazine to choose topics for discussion in the
biological sciences. We will use a journal club, group
discussion approach. Before each class, we will read a
recent Science research paper or news article. In class,
we will sort out ideas and reactions to clarify our understanding
of the research. We will try to figure out just
what was discovered, how the scientists got there, why it
might be important, how that advance might help people
and society and what the ethical implications might be.
We could end up with the kind of sound-bite that sparks
great conversation with friends and family.

Along the way you will receive an insider’s glimpse into
how research discoveries get from the laboratory to the
public eye. And, we can try our hand at writing short
commentaries on current bioscience discoveries, which,
if the group wishes to, we could publish on a blog.

No previous scientific background is needed; this discussion
course is intended for the interested generalist.

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