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Nanobacteria

Are They or Aren't They Alive?



Author:

Merri Lynn Casem
Department of Biological Science
California State University Fullerton
mcasem@fullerton.edu

Abstract:

This case study was developed for a first-semester foundations course for biology majors. It is based on two conflicting reports in the scientific literature on the status of nanobacteria as living organisms in order to explore basic concepts related to the biological definition of life and the process of scientific investigation. In addition to engaging students with these topics, the case highlights the ambiguities inherent in science, and creates a forum for debate and discussion regarding the ability to arrive at “right answers.”

Objectives:
  • Develop an accurate biological definition of life.
  • Propose an experiment to test one property of life.
  • Analyze and interpret experimental data.
  • Evaluate a hypothesis.
  • Support conclusions based on evidence.
Keywords: Nanobacteria; biomineralization; definition of life; bacteria; experimental design
Topical Area: Scientific argumentation, Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted, Journal Article
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Microbiology  
Date Posted: 12/05/01
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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