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I. The Chemistry of Life
A museum conservator needs to remove food stains from a new acquisition.
Topics covered: macromolecules, enzymes, and starches.
II. The Cell
A new transgenic fungus enhances the production of soy sauce.
Topics covered: fermentation, metabolic pathways, bioenergetics, and respiration.
The Donor’s Dilemma
A blood donor may have been exposed to West Nile virus.
Topics covered: protein synthesis, viral genomes, genomics, and transmission pathways.
IV. Mechanisms of Evolution
When identifying unknown meat, alleged to be whale, students use biotechnology tools to find new ways to determine relationships between related organisms.
Topics covered: phylogeny, classification, and forensics using DNA analysis.
V. The Evolutionary History of Biological Diversity
Unveiling the Carboniferous
A biology consultant critiques the scientific accuracy of a proposed mural of the Carboniferous Period. Topics covered: geologic time, interpreting fossils, identifying period-appropriate organisms, and accurate visual depiction in science.
VI. Plant Form and Function
Corn Under Construction
Growers discuss the management of BT corn crops.
Topics covered: angiosperm anatomy and reproduction, biotechnology, and agriculture.
VII. Animal Form and Function
Horse owners train a new employee in the care and feeding of horses.
Topics covered: horse evolution, evolution of grass versus grain feeders, digestive processes, and anatomy of digestion.
Back to the Bay
Taped gull distress calls are used at a Chesapeake Bay marina to control an annoying gull population.
Topics covered: animal behavior, population biology, characteristics of aquatic biomes, human population impacts, and conservation.
Pandemic Flu: Past and Possible
The oral history of a survivor of the 1918 flu epidemic contrasts with what we know today about pandemic flu.
Topics covered: immune response, viral structure, transmission and reproduction, informing the public, epidemiology modeling, and pandemic planning.
Shh: Silencing the Hedgehog Pathway
A diagnosis of skin cancer leads to the hedgehog signaling pathway.
Topics covered: cell signaling, antagonists, gene expression and development, stem cells, and monoclonal antibodies as research tools.