An Intimate Debate Case
Continuing Studies and Executive Education
In this intimate debate case, students consider whether to support the development and use of Golden Rice as a means to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in the developing world. Since many of the arguments typically raised against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) do not apply to this particular GM crop, students are forced to analyze the facts rather than rely on what they have heard in the media. Teams of students are presented with evidence that supports either the pro or con position. Based on this information, they formulate arguments to defend their position, then present their case to another team. Each team also listens to arguments from a team defending the other position. Listening skills are developed in addition to scientific argumentation skills, since in the next phase of the debate students must defend the opposite position. This is followed by a whole-class discussion that explores broader issues and questions introduced by the case. Developed for an introductory molecular biology undergraduate course, the case could also be used at more advanced levels.
- Describe concepts associated with GMOs such as monoculture, cross-fertilization of crops, allergenicity, and patents.
- Examine the arguments supporting and opposing the use of a GMO.
- Evaluate the merits of using Golden Rice to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in developing regions.
- Consider the socio-political causes and implications of malnutrition in developing countries and propose the best strategies to remedy it in the long-term.
KeywordsGolden rice; genetic engineering; genetically modified organism; GMO; vitamin A deficiency; gene patent and licensing; Potrykus; developing world; bioethics
Topical AreasScientific argumentation, Social justice issues, Social issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsIntimate Debate, Student Presentations
Subject HeadingsMolecular Biology | Biotechnology | Nutrition | Agriculture | Food Science / Technology | Botany / Plant Science |
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