Genetics-in-the-News Paper

As we have mentioned in class, advances in genetics are occurring at an amazingly rapid pace. Many of these advances are directly relevant to our daily lives. As a result, many of these advances are reported in newspapers, popular magazines, and on television. Often, though, such popular accounts of scientific events either fail to tell the whole story or exaggerate the importance of the discoveries. As students of genetics, you should be able to read such news stories and provide a more in depth analysis of the described event. For this assignment, then, you will be required to do just that.


Pick an article dealing with some aspect of genetics that has appeared in a major newspaper or magazine during the past year . Provide a 4-6 page paper analyzing this story. This paper should be directed at a well-educated audience, but not necessarily a 'genetics literate' audience. Include sufficient background material, a clear explanation of the event or finding, an analysis of the importance of the event or finding, and a discussion of any limitations or caveats not mentioned by the author(s). Also, each person will give a 5 minute presentation on his/her article in lab.


You will be graded on writing style, organization, and clarity. Also, you will be graded on your analysis of the significance of the event or finding and your discussion of any limitations to the event or finding. The presentation will be graded on clarity, content, and your ability to answer questions.


The paper must be typed and double-spaced. All references used must be cited appropriately. A specific referencing format will not be specified, but all references should be complete and consistent. As a reminder, plagiarism is the misrepresentation of someone else's work as your own, either intentionally or unintentionally. A failure to cite another person's work, in any form, is not acceptable. It is acceptable, though, to have other people read your paper and provide you with comments. I encourage you to make use of the Writing Center. Please review the Department of Biology Statement on Plagiarism, if you have any questions. Turn in a copy of the article along with your paper.

Due Date

Papers: Monday, March 23, 2009, 11:30AM
Presentations: Monday or Wednesday, March 23 or 25, 2009 in lab