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Senior: 11 & 12: Unit 4: Heredity and Continuity of Life

Claims and Resources

NOTE: Genetic modification or engineering is considered to be the overarching term, and gene editing is a subset.

Genetically  modified crops may only be grown, imported, and transported in Australia with the approval of the Regulator. Criminal charges may apply for unauthorised handling or use of GMOs. Three GM crops are currently grown by farmers in Australia: canola, cotton and safflower.
From: Genetically Modified Crops in Australia (Australian Department of Health)

Other GM crops grown commercially include: potato (USA), squash/pumpkin (USA) alfalfa (USA), eggplants (Bangladesh), sugar beet (USA, Canada), papaya (USA and China), oilseed rape (4 countries), maize (corn) (17 countries), soya beans (11 countries) and cotton (15 countries).

Genetically-modified food: An answer to food security? (World Vision)
Genetic modification for Agriculture—Proposed Revision of GMO Regulation in Australia (Plants)
(Ukraine) War forces farmers to think again about GM crops; Genetic modification could make Britain's food system less susceptible to geopolitical turmoil (The Telegraph Online)
Genetically modified organisms: Food security or threat to food safety? (Pakistan Journal of Science)
Agricultural biotechnology: The Promise and Prospects of Genetically Modified Crops (Journal of Economic Perspectives)

Framing GM crops as a food security solution (Elsevier Science Direct database)

Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. - Recent trends (US Department of Agriculture)

Feeding the World: genetically modified crops versus agricultural biodiversity (Springer Link journal article)
Recent human evolutionary trends (Wikipedia)
  • Lactase persistence (or the ability to digest milk after weaning - Europeans)
  • The ability to free-dive for long periods of time (Bajau people, Philippines)
  • Adaptations for living in high altitudes where oxygen concentrations are low (Tibet, Andes, Ethiopia)
  • Resistance to contagious diseases (such as malaria) 
  • Light skin
  • Blue eyes 
  • The ability to synthesize alcohol dehydrogenase (an enzyme that breaks down alcohol)
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, retention of the median artery 
  • Thick hair shaft
  • Dry ear wax
  • Higher body-mass index
  • Reduced prevalence of Alzheimer's disease
  • Lower susceptibility to diabetes 
  • Genetic longevity 
  • Shrinking brain sizes
  • Changes in the timing of menarche and menopause
Ebsco Research Starter database: Human evolution
State University of New York at Morrisville: What is evolution, and how do we know it's happening?

Scientific American: Still evolving, after all these years 

Nature: Are humans still evolving? 

The Guardian: Study shows humans are evolving faster than previously thought

Science Questions With Surprising Answers: When did humans stop evolving?
Penn State Science in our World: Have humans stopped evolving?
Smithsonian National Museum (US): Climate effects on human evolution
Smithsonian National Museum (US): How cheese, wheat and alcohol shaped human evolution
Stanford University: A hidden epidemic of shrinking jaws is behind many orthodontic and health issues, Stanford researchers say
Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal: Has human evolution stopped? 
New York Times: Still evolving - human genes tell a new story 
European Molecular Biology Organisation: Are humans still evolving? Technological advances and unique biological characteristics allow us to adapt to environmental stress. Has this stopped genetic evolution? 
Science Magazine: Are human brains still evolving? 
Discover: Great mysteries of human evolution 
Scroll down to the last section: "Have we stopped evolving?"
Frontiers of anatomy: Evolution of the human brain - when bigger is better 

The Human Genome Project is responsible for therapies for a wide range of diseases, including inherited eye diseases, neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disorders, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and non-inherited diseases such as cancer and HIV. It can also assist with common conditions in older age include hearing loss, cataracts and refractive errors in eyes, back and neck pain, osteoarthritis,  diabetes, depression, dementia (including Alzheimer's Disease) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

If necessary, put your disease in with a group of similar one eg Neurodegenerative, Cardiovascular, Respiratory or Cancer (those with a genetic connection, eg breast cancer).

QUT C.R.A.A.P. Test for Evaluating Websites

Check the quality of your websites using these criteria (adapted from QUT Library):

Currency: Timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published, posted or last updated?
  • Is the information current for your topic and field of study? How recent does it have to be? Can older sources work just as well?
Relevance: Importance of the information for your needs
  • Is the information appropriate for a senior secondary course?
  • Is this an adequately in-depth examination or a quick summary of the topic?
  • Who's the intended audience? Is it the general public, a student, a researcher or industry?
  • Is the level of information too basic or too advanced for your needs?

Authority: Source of the information

  • Is the author/authoring body (individual person, or institution, or organisation) established and reputable?
  • Are their qualifications, credentials, expertise, experience, educational background and previous work (if any) relevant and do they add credibility to the source?
  • Has the piece been published by a well-known and respected publisher or organisation?
  • Do references to other sources support the writing ie is a Reference List provided?

Accuracy: Reliability and correctness of the information

  • Where does the information come from, and is it supported by evidence?
  • Does it have a Reference List or Bibliography so you can easily find and verify the sources used?
  • Are there any spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: Reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? Why was it written?
  • Does the point of view appear objective, unbiased and impartial?
  • Is the viewpoint of the author's affiliation/ sponsors reflected in the message or content?
  • Does the author acknowledge alternative versions of the issues or facts?

Advanced Google Web Searching

1. Use 'Ctrl F' (Control + Find) to search for particular terms easily in a long document, whether from a website or a database article.
2.  Use a Boolean command - put double inverted commas around phrases to limit and improve your results eg "energy drinks cardiovascular problems children". 
3. Use a Google domain command eg site:edu OR site:gov to limit results to a CERTAIN DOMAIN such as education or government eg biodiesel site:edu
4. Use a Google command to limit results to the MOST RECENT: After you get your results, choose the Google Menu Bar, and choose 'Tools'. Then on the far left, at the drop-down menu next to 'Any Time', you can choose 'Within the last year' (or less, if you prefer), but generally, you can choose 'Custom Range' at the bottom, as often the last 3-4 years would be sufficient for a recent search.

Research Tips for Senior School Science

ONESearh Database Explorer

The ENTIRE collection of resources provided by the BBC Library can be searched on ONE single, powerful search platform, which retrieves print books, eBooks, database articles and websites. Click HERE for assistance.

Useful Databases

Elsevier Science Direct

 Science Direct 

Please only download an article if you read the abstract (summary) first, and think it will be useful to you. We only have 50 downloads in our yearly subscription.

Request the Library to purchase an Ebook for your assistance

Ebook Central
You can see the entire Proquest Ebook Central Catalogue of 500,000 resources by entering your search term in the box above.  You may browse any title for 5 minutes, and if it's one we don't already own, it will say 'request this book from your library', which means you can email the Library to ask us to purchase it if you like it, or simply rent it for a day so you can quickly take the notes you need during that day.
SIGN IN WITH YOUR STUDENT NUMBER AS YOUR USERNAME.
We will attend to your request as quickly as possible!

MyBib Referencing Generator

Manage your bibliography using "MyBib" - Referencing - LibGuides at  Melbourne High School

MyBib is an online referencing generator to help you with in text references and your List of References.

NOTE: 

  • Sign up for an account so that it will store the references for your assignment. Add it to your bookmark bar to find it quickly.
  • Install the Chrome extension to make your referencing even faster.
  • Make sure everything in your Reference List has a corresponding In-Text citation in the body of your essay.

Zotero - Online Referencing Tool

Zotero can be set to the same Harvard AGPS (Australia) style that CiteAce uses, called 'Melbourne Polytechnic - Harvard'. Please read the instructions carefully.

Any issues - see your Library Staff

How to Create In-Text References for Figures and Tables

Science Template for Writing Research Assignments

From Mrs Allen:

1.       START EARLY

2.       ASSIGNMENT BREAKDOWN
          a.       First 10% - General Reading (This is where your ideas are shaped, read 3-6 sources of VARIETY)
          b.       10% - 40/50% - Active Notetaking (This is where you collect & collate evidence & info)
          c.       40-50% - 80% - Organisation of Ideas (This is where you construct the structure of your essay,  and allocate the number of words for  each part).
          d.       80% - 100% - Writing (This is where you write the assignment as streamlined as possible)

Research Assignment Template - Mrs D.Allen

Dr Gurion Ang's Biology Template

Suggested Biology Academic Websites


The world’s largest biomedical library, NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics. 



The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. Used by university medical students.


British international charitable organisation formed to organise medical research findings to facilitate evidence-based choices about health interventions. Used by university medical students.


The NCBI advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.


An open access, transparent peer-reviewed general medical journal. 

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Search for news articles which come from trusted news outlets, such as the  Associated Press (AP) and The Atlantic, and other sources chosen for use in the classroom.

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Web-based medical and health news service.

Useful Science Academic Databases

The world’s largest collection of open access research papers

An inclusive journal community which believes all rigorous science needs to be published and discoverable, widely disseminated and freely accessible to all

A free distribution service and an open archive for scholarly articles in the fields of science


An American website that aggregates press releases and publishes lightly edited press releases about science

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Breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet.


A network of not-for-profit media outlets that publish news stories on the Internet that are written by academics and researchers


The NCBI advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.

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Regarded as a 'porthole' site, SciTech Daily offers the best intelligent, informed science and technology coverage and analysis you can find on a daily basis, sourcing a huge range of great writers and excellent research institutes.

Gateway to the best Science news sources.

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A global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals.


Google Scholar's searches are set to cover scholarly material more often than 'regular' Google. Google Scholar's searches are set to cover scholarly material more often than 'regular' Google.  Read the article below on the advantages an disadvantages of using it.

Google Books can be very frustrating because often much of the book is missing and you are expected to purchase it to read the full content. So after you put in your search term you are interested in (eg biodiesel), and get some results up,  you should then go immediately to the search box (on the left - above 'About this box') undefined and type in a particular word or term you are interested in (eg CO2 emissions OR methanol) you should get a number of pages pop up. Choose one that looks useful - you should get some good results this way!