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Listed under:  Science  >  Life  >  Genes  >  Heredity
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Decoding the platypus genome

Find out what scientists have discovered from decoding the platypus genome. Learn how these discoveries provide some surprising insights into this unusual animal's underwater feeding, number of sex chromosomes, protection of its young and evolution of the male platypus's venomous spur.

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Crop biodiversity vs. monoculture

Wheat is a food crop grown all over the world, including in Australia. The way it is grown, however, varies widely. Watch this clip to discover why the Seed Hunter has come all the way to remote Tajikistan to look at wheat crops. Find out how Tajikistan's wheat crops differ in a significant way from Australia's.


Using genes to unlock the secrets of Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen was an Egyptian pharaoh who ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age or nine or ten. His fame in modern times is due to the discovery of his virtually intact tomb in 1922. Since then, many questions have been asked about his life and ancestry. Listen to this audio clip to find out how genetic technology ...

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Inheritance, cell division and DNA duplication

What do you know about cell division? Look at images of a cell dividing, taken through an electron microscope. Discover a type of cell division called mitosis that is an important part of growth and repair in multicellular organisms. Compare that to the way cells divide through sexual reproduction in a process called meiosis. ...

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DNA fingerprinting

Learn how DNA fingerprinting is used to identify individuals, and see the technology and equipment used to analyse genetic differences between people. Discover how DNA fingerprinting can be used as evidence of guilt or innocence in crime forensics.

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Gene therapy: two sides of a coin

Learn about the two types of gene therapy: somatic and germline. Explore how somatic gene therapy has made giant strides towards developing treatments for some human diseases and disorders. Consider the ethical issues surrounding germline therapy, by which genetic changes would be passed on to later generations.

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Selecting and synthesing genes

Discover how scientists can isolate and construct genes. See how they can make different types of DNA libraries to screen for a particular genes, and learn how genes can be completely re-created (synthesised) once their DNA sequence is known. Explore the range of recombinant DNA and genetic engineering techniques used to ...

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DNA inside cells

Cells contain four major types of macromolecules that have important functions. These are lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Learn about the structure of DNA, a nucleic acid, and find out how the strands of the DNA double helix are replicated inside a cell.

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Genetically modified food: divided perspectives

Imagine that farmers were able to droughtproof or pest-proof their crops. Manipulating genes in food can provide solutions to many farming and food supply problems. However, not everyone agrees on how this new technology should be used. Watch this clip to find out why some Australian farmers are divided on this issue.

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Wild chickpea: food for the future?

The 'Seed Hunter', Australian scientist Dr Ken Street, is on a quest to find plants that have genes to withstand our changing climate.Could the wild chickpea be one such plant?If so, are there any left to be found?

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Extracting DNA

Find out how DNA is extracted in the laboratory. See the steps involved in breaking open the cells and removing lipids, proteins and other substances until finally only DNA remains. Discover how DNA can be isolated using substances found in your own home. Consider how all the DNA is packaged tightly into a single cell.

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Ethical issues surrounding gene technologies

Explore some benefits and risks of gene technologies. The clip considers a range of benefits, such as improving human health and helping to solve crimes. It also raises some concerns about how DNA data is used, including its potential use against people in things such as life insurance applications.

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Essential amino acids

Discover why proteins are essential to life and find out where and how protein in living things is produced.

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Sequencing the human genome

Take a brief tour of the history of genome sequencing. See how scientists started with the sequencing of whole genomes of viruses and bacteria and then moved on to the human genome. Discover some surprises revealed by the early draft sequencing of the human genome.

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Genetic engineering of animals

Compare genetic engineering with traditional selective breeding and artificial selection of domesticated animals. Consider that the goal of both genetic engineering and traditional breeding of farm animals and pets might be the same, but the approach of each is different. Evaluate the ethical issues associated with tinkering ...

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Global seed vault

If you had a very precious collection where would you keep it? What would it need to be protected from? What if it was a collection of seeds? How, where and why should we keep a collection of all known plant food sources? Watch this clip and find out as the Seed Hunter, Australian scientist Dr Ken Street, deposits the ancient, ...

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Greenpeace takes a stand against GM crops

Watch Greenpeace activists mow down a research crop of genetically modified (GM) wheat grown by CSIRO. Consider some arguments for and against GM foods and find out the number of GM crops being trialled around Australia.

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Handling deadly viruses safely to save lives

Imagine working in a research laboratory and handling deadly animal viruses that could potentially infect humans. Find out how this vital research helps protect Australia's wildlife, farm animals and human population. See how scientists use techniques such as 'gene silencing' to fight viruses.

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SRY gene and mitochondrial DNA

Discover how DNA can be used to trace a family's lineage (its line of descendants) via the male or female line. Learn that the SRY gene and mitochondrial DNA are used as a reliable way to trace many generations back and to study ancestry.

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Introduction to biotechnology

Gain an overview of biotechnology, whereby humans have manipulated the genetic makeup of organisms in order to make useful substances for the development of humankind.