Transgenic plants: Are they safe?

Introduction

This webquest was made by Paula Garcia for the subject of Biology at a Batxillerat level.

There is a lot of controversy around one specific subject: TRANSGENIC ORGANISMS! Transgenic organisms are used in a lot of countries for research but also for production of transgenic food. A lot of people has an opinion about this subject but some of the opinions are uninformed. Most scientific experts are pro transgenic while ecological organizations are against it. In this webquest you will learn about transgenic plants and the main opinions pro and against the use of these organisms. Later you’ll express your own informed opinion from all the information you gather.

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Genetically modified plants (GMP) are plants in which their DNA has been modified using genetic engineering methods. These plants can also be referred to as transgenic plants. These genetic engineering techniques introduce new characteristics in the original species. Some examples of genetically modified plants are food crops with resistant to pests or extreme environmental conditions (cold, drought), resistance to herbicides or improving the nutritional value of the fruits. Apart from food crops there exist os, biofuels, etc [1]. 

Task

The goal of this webquest is for you to learn about transgenic plants and the controversy that surrounds them. At the end of this quest you will have to film a short report (under 5 minutes) with facts and your opinions and share it with your classmates. 

To learn about transgenics and to form an opinion about this subject you will have to do an exhaustive research about geneticaly modified organisms (GMO) and specificaly plants. To do so you'll form groups of 3 and try to answer the following questions:

What is a transgenic plant?

What benefits can provide Genetic modified plants?

What risks can cause the genetic modified plants?

What is your opinion on transgenic plants? Should they be banned or allowed?

In the process tab you'll find some clues and a guide to know which are the main ideas you have to answer and some resources to use. 

When your grup has answered all the questions you'll have to elaborate a script for the report and post it. And finaly you'll have to film it! Every member of the group shoul be featured in the minifilm!

 

Process

You are organized in groups of 3 people. Every member of the group will be the expert of one of the first three questions of the task. You'll have to search and summarize the information of the question you choose and then explain it to your groupmates using a mindmap. The last question has to be an opinion of each of the members of the group.

1- What is a transgenic plant?

You have to research and make a mind map about what are geneticaly modified plants and how are they obtained. 

Before starting you can look at this TV program: Transgènics a la carta.

You can check the following resources to help you:

https://fas.org/biosecurity/education/dualuse-agriculture/2.-agricultural-biotechnology/genetically-engineered-crops.html

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/gm-plants/what-is-gm-and-how-is-it-done/

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/1/

You'll have to anotate the information you collect and also the source of information. Rembember to use scientific and reliable sources!

 

What benefits can provide Genetic modified plants?

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You have to research and make a mind map about what are the benefits for humans and environment that can have the geneticaly modified plants. 

Before starting you can look at this TV program: Transgènics a la carta.

You can check the following resources to help you:

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/1/

https://www.resourcesmag.org/common-resources/the-benefits-of-genetically-modified-cropsand-the-costs-of-inefficient-regulation/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871678410005364

You'll have to anotate the information you collect and also the source of information. Rembember to use scientific and reliable sources!

What risks can cause the genetic modified plants?

Resultat d'imatges de risk icon

You have to research and make a mind map about what are the risks for humans and environment that can have the geneticaly modified plants. 

Before starting you can look at this TV program: Transgènics a la carta.

You can check the following resources to help you:

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/1/

https://www.resourcesmag.org/common-resources/the-benefits-of-genetically-modified-cropsand-the-costs-of-inefficient-regulation/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324576.php

You'll have to anotate the information you collect and also the source of information. Rembember to use scientific and reliable sources!

What is your opinion on transgenic plants? Should they be banned or allowed?

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Every member of the group has to write a short text (about 150 words) about your informed opinion on this matter. You'll base the final activity (film) on the three opinions in the group.

Evaluation

This work will be evaluated by yourselves. The films will also be evaluated by the rest of the croups following a rubric.

 

Rubric for selfassessment and peer-assessment:

self-assessment

Correct

Good

Very good

Content

I didn’t have a lot of info and it was from the webquest sources.

It had good info and it was from the webquest sources.

It had good info and it was from the webquest sources and others.

Mindmap

Very simple and didn’t have all the info.

Simple but it had all the info.

Very complete and it had all the info.

Group work

I work a little because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t took notes.

I was interested and worked with my peers. I took notes.

I was interested and worked with my peers. I took notes and helped my peers.

Peer-assessment

Correct

Good

Very good

Introduction

They did a very simple introduction.

They did a complete introduction.

They did a complete introduction with examples

Content

It only had the benefit or the risks.

It had some of the benefits and the risks.

It had a complete list of benefits and risks.

Opinion

Very simple opinion not related to facts.

Simple opinion related to facts.

Complex opinion related to facts.

 

 

Conclusion

During this webquest you have learnt a lot about geneticaly modified plants and how we obtain them. You also know the possible benefits and risks that they have. Finaly you have express your opinion about the matter.

Do you think other people know a lot about transgenic plants? Should TV programs and internet try to inform better about transgenics?

Credits