Genomics Blog

January 31, 2016 3:20 PM
Reading the News about Zika virus
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
The headline shouts: “Zika virus could be bigger global health threat than Ebola, say health experts”. The World Health Organization is meeting soon to determine whether the Zika virus should be declared an international emergency. While the recent news about Zika virus is disturbing, I am skeptical about some of the claims I am reading in the press. I have seen news which links the spread of Zika virus to climate change (1, 2) and even some claims that the “Zika outbreak Epicenter [is] In Same Area Genetically-Modified Mosquitoes Released In 2015”. Let’s examine the evidence and the risk factors so that we can decide for ourselves. Educators, consider using this example as a current model to discuss ‘reading the news’ with your students.
January 22, 2016 10:30 AM
Science vs Technology vs Societal Issues: What’s the difference?
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
When I read a recent post on Science on Google+ which distinguished between science and technology, I thought educators need to consider societal issues as well.

Consider these three questions:
1. What is the effect of ionizing radiation on the rate of mutations in a bacterial population?
2. Can mutant strains of bacteria be created which are resistant to an antibiotic?
3. Should foods containing genetically mutated organisms be labelled?

I’m asking these three questions which may arise in a science class to illustrate that they cannot all be solved using the same type of thinking. Some recent postings on the internet reveal a frustration by science educators in taking on these problems with a rigid scientific method. No wonder: it doesn’t apply to all three. In Alberta over the past 30 years, we have looked on these three types of problems as being part of a three-pronged approach we called science-technology-society.

January 13, 2016 1:16 PM
Science Fair Season in Alberta 2016
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
Here we go again! It’s science fair season in Alberta. The students are working hard on their projects and the adults are busy raising funds and planning for the showcase events which begin in mid-March and continue through to the Canada-Wide Science Fair which will be held this year in Montreal from May 15 – 20.
December 27, 2015 8:22 AM
Genomics 2015: A year on our blogs - Genome Alberta
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
2015 will soon be over. To refresh my memory, I reviewed our blog posts for the past year; and, as has been my tradition since 2010, I linked my highlights in Prezi to illustrate the many science topics we explored. I noticed a number of our blogs that prepared us for DNA Day, our major annual celebration. We also presented videos and audio blogs, and we talked to politicians, policy makers and scientists.
December 21, 2015 9:40 AM
Cabinets of Curiosities
Filed Under: Gerry Ward | 0 Comments
Do you have that drawer or box full of precious little items that you have saved for years? The stuff is really too good to be called junk and thrown out. Yet the problem remains: what to do with the accumulations of rocks, fossils, shells and other intriguing objects that you have collected over the years? Perhaps I have an inspiration.