Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Descent with modification" vs." Classroom Lord of the E. Coli"

I get a little bit of flak when discussing evolution. Not a lot, but it's real, and I address it. It works well, and essentially explains everything in biology except the source of life itself

Meanwhile, my AP class today stuck the GFP (green fluorescent protein) gene from jellyfish into E. coli, a major poop bug in our gut. No complaints, no oohs and ahhhs. No recognition of the power of what we did.

We transferred genes from one species of one domain (Eukarya) into a species of a completely different domain (Bacteria) in a high school classroom.

We are the new gods--and we are not ready.


Kate said...

I have to say that I am glad that my e-coli do not glow.

For the first time in eight years teaching a book, I am anticipating difficulties. This excerpted from an email a colleague received.
Incidentally, in Spring, the 7th graders will be reading "Inherit the Wind" which presents a very overt and negative stereotype of Christians as well. Again, unless properly handled, a selection like this has the potential to serve only to reinforce negative stereotypes of people of faith and Christians in particular.

I just wish that they would trust us. I do not want to play God, either.

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

Wouldn't it be cool it it did?

Another science teacher and I toyed with the idea of marketing fluorescent E. coli for dogs. Just think of the possibilities.

Formal capital "c" Christianity has its own issues today--coded Biblical references on Army gun sights. Constantine wins again.

Charlie Roy said...

marketing the glowing jeans may be worth it. I operated a dog wast removal business as a side income a couple of years ago. This would have allowed me to work at night.

doyle said...

Dear Charlie,

We may yet--right now I have a few million E. coli loaded with the green fluorescent protein.

(I've contemplated starting a dog poo business for years, now.)

Charlie Roy said...

@ Doyle
I must say the business was rather profitable and business was picking up (no pun intended) when a family change with my business partner ended the deal. But I do like having my saturday mornings back to read blogs and see the family.