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Scientific Thinking

Introduces principles intrinsic to asking and answering scientific questions.

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The Organization of Life
teacher Contributed

The Organization of Life

DNMT3 is an enzyme which modifies DNA in order to regulate gene expression and activity.

Topic

Biological systems as information networks

Student Exploration

Rethinking Biology

All fields of science are constantly advancing and changing. This state is inherent to the scientific endeavor, but sometimes it leads scientists into uncomfortable places. Places where common sense doesn't quite seem enough, and you experience a constant nagging itch that you can't quite find. People can point to the study of physics in the early 20th century as an example. Newtonian physics were great; they were practical; they made sense, and then along came a guy named Einstein with his relativity and folks like Niels Bohr and his quantum mechanics. Suddenly, there were a lot of itchy, albeit excited, physicists. Sir Paul Nurse, head of the United Kingdom's Royal Society, thinks the time has come for biologists to get itchy. Find out more in his own words.

Extension Investigation

Use the below resources to answer the following questions

  1. What does Sir Paul Nurse mean when he says that biology is a system which is managing information? What phenomena does he hope to address through this approach to biology?
  2. What three things did Francis Crick say you need to follow to understand biology? Does this pathway make sense to you? Why or why not? For what is Francis Crick well known?
  3. How are negative feedback loops different than positive feedback loops? Do you think one is more important than the other in biology? Why or why not?
  4. What point is Sir Nurse seeking to make when he compares airplane routes to cell communication networks? How can this idea inform future research?

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