For the Module 4 SLP, you will build on your understanding of the structure of DNA, genetics, and inheritance by exploring some applied genetic engineering techniques.  You will review the three papers you have read on the Deepwater Horizon Spill:

Biello D (2010) Clean Up the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Scientific America: May 25, 2010.

Urakawa, H., Garcia, Juan C., Barreto, Patricia D., Molina, Gabriela A., Barreto, Jose C. (2012). A sensitive crude oil bioassay indicates that oil spills potentially induce a change of major nitrifying prokaryotes from the Archaea to the Bacteria. Environmental Pollution. 164:42-45

Byrd D (2014) How oil spill chemicals cause heart failure in fish. EarthSky Feb 18, 2014.

and consider the effects of toxicity on representative members from three domains:

Archaea – Nitrosopumilus maritimus

Bacteria – Nitrosococcus oceani

Eukarya – Thunnus thynnus (Atlantic Bluefin Tuna)

In order to make connections between the results found in these studies, assess the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and move forward in your analysis on how best to remediate the spill.

After analyzing these studies in various assignments in the previous modules, you will now prepare a document for your Shoreline Assessment Team that describes your first interpretation of the data and discusses one approach to remediation that involves genetic engineering.

View these resources to complete this assignment:

Scientific American Instant Egghead Video:  Can Microbes clean Up Our Oily Mess?

Interview with Professor Barbara Block on BBC News:

Tutorials on Genetic Engineering

Making a Recombinant Plasmid

Bacteria Transformation


Prepare a 3-4 page document that outlines your analysis of the effects of the Deepwater Spill on study species in the Gulf of Mexico.  In your report include:

Part I – Influence of Crude Oil on Nitrosopumilus maritimus and Nitrosococcus oceani

  1. Which species appeared to be affected by crude oil assays in the Urakawa et al (2012) study?  How were they affected in the study? 
  2. Based on what you know about the metabolism of the organisms, which species was more likely to have been successful in an environment with abundant hydrocarbons?

Part II – Influence of Crude Oil on Thunnus thynnus (Atlantic Bluefin Tuna)

  1. Provide an overview of the documented effects of crude oil on Thunnus thynnus.
  2. What stage of development is affected and how could this affect the population?
  3. What economic impact would this have on the area?
  4. What is a “highly conserved gene?”  What relationship do these results have to the effects of hydrocarbons on humans?

Part III – Recommendations for Remediation

Do you recommend genetically engineering a prokaryote to remediate this spill? In your assessment provide reasons for BOTH why and why not this would be a good approach, and describe which genes would need to be targeted and which species would be better suited to be transformed – Nitrosopumilus maritimus or Nitrosococcus oceani.

SLP Assignment Expectations

The Session Long Project consists of an integrative project emphasizing the personalized application of each module’s concepts. For Modules 1–5, students are required to engage in an original integrative project reflecting their comprehensive knowledge of and ability to apply the course materials. Each component of the SLP will be graded on a modular basis.

Your essay is considered a scholarly work. You will be provided with many scholarly references to begin each assignment. For any additional research you are required to do to complete your assignment, please use scholarly references such as a peer reviewed journal article or a government sponsored or university sponsored website.  As you read through your sources, take notes from your sources and then write your paper in your own words, describing what you have learned from your research.  Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example (Murray, 2014).   Direct copying from “homework help” websites will not receive credit.

When you write your essay, please organize your paper to include an introduction (overview of the assignment), body with subtitles (reflecting the requirements of the assignment), and a summary (develop connections between the required topics).

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