Posted in P1 SBI3U Biology

SBI3U On Faith and Science

YOUCAT – This a version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that was translated into a language more understandable to young people. Parts 41-46, but particularly part 42 explains the Church’s belief and teaching about evolution.

Pope Francis emphasizes a unity of faith and science

Here are a few important things Pope Francis said from the the article above:

“The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

“When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magician, with a wand able to make everything. But it is not so,” the Bishop of Rome affirmed.

“Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature. But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realize, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the creator.”

Catholic Church teaching is quite congruent with Evolutionary Creationism or Biologos as Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and National Institute of Health has described it. Interestingly he was not raised in a religious family. In fact his parents were basically hippies about 20 years before hippies were a thing. He gives a talk below about how he came to his faith through science.

Posted in P2 SBI4U Biology

SBI4U Article Assignment Readings for Tuesday April 16

Article: Scientists design protein that prods cancer-fighting T-cells
Read the article above as well as the articles in the links below several times before Tuesday. It would be wise to make summary notes on it. On Thursday we will be doing an open book (computer) in-class activity on this material. This activity is a research and reading comprehension task that will be in a true/false, multiple choice format. Arriving prepared will make a difference in your performance. It will go towards the application learning category of the course. The article above comes from which is a credible source for news in science. It is a site that summarizes the primary research article (read the Abstract in this link) or shares university reports directly as they have done in this case.

Background Reading:
When reading scientific articles we get thrown into a deep end of a bunch of brand new terminology. A critical skill of reading at the university level is to intentionally expand your vocabulary by exploring the definitions of the new terms. Essentially, you have to read new things in order to truly understand an article you are assigned to read. Further reading of phenomena referred to in the target article may also be required, like IL-2 toxicity in this article for example. The key is to approach a challenging article with a willingness to do what you need to do to understand.

IL-2 Therapy Toxicity
The main article alludes to the fact that treatment of specially selected cancer patients with IL-2 can be carried out but is usually toxic. The link above is for patients who will be receiving high dose IL-2 treatment. It explains how it works but also what the side effects (toxicity) are. By understanding this, you will more fully appreciate the significance of the accomplishment in the article at the beginning of the post.

National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Terms
Look up the definitions for the following terms: cytokine, interleukin, leukocyte, lymphocyte, B lymphocyte, T lymphocyte,

NCBI Interleukin 2 Gene Data
Read the summary here. This is an example of primary article language. You may not understand everything but after looking up the previous terms, attempt to infer what you think this summary is saying.

Scroll way down and you will find a heading in bold that says, “mRNA and Protein(s)” and you will see this link NM_000586.3 (for the mRNA report) and this link NP_000577.2 (for the protein report).

Go to the mRNA report to find out how many base pairs the mRNA is for IL-2. Scroll down and you will see the word ORIGIN and below that will be the whole mRNA sequence. This is the sequence of the coding or sense strand. You will notice the bases are in lowercase a, t, g & c. The reason they use t instead of u is because enzymes are used to generate a DNA copy of the mRNA sequence known as cDNA.

Go to the Protein report and you will find out how many amino acids (aa) long the natural IL-2 protein is. Scroll down on this site and you will see the word ORIGIN and below it, the amino acid sequence written in lowercase, single-letter short form.

3D Protein Structures:
Examine the following four links to see natural IL-2 versus Neo-2/15 that the scientists in the main article created. These will give you a better sense of the secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures as discussed in the article.

3D Protein Structure of Natural IL-2

3D Protein Structure of Natural IL-2 bound to its receptor made of the alpha, beta and gamma subunits

3D Protein Structure of Neo-2/15

3D Protein Structure of Neo-2/15 bound to the interleukin beta and gamma receptor combination

Posted in P1 SBI3U Biology

SBI3U Genetics Test Tuesday April 16

  • Mendel and his experiments
  • genetics terminology and definitions
  • test cross
  • pedigrees
  • law of segregation
  • Genetics Problem-solving: monohybrid or dihybrid Punnett Squares, genotypic ratio, phenotypic ratio for all forms of inheritance we have covered:  dominance, incomplete dominance, codominance, X-linked inheritance, multiple alleles (ABO blood type)
Posted in P1 SBI3U Biology

SBI3U Blood Typing and Case Study

The Facts About Whole Blood

Canadian Pioneers in Blood Typing

RhoGAM – The medicine given to women who are Rh- who are carrying an Rh+ baby


Blood Typing Case Study:

There is another gene that codes for another, different antigen that also occurs on the surface of our RBCs, and technically, that gene also has multiple alleles. However, most people either have or do not have one particular allele. This gene codes for an antigen that is called “Rh factor” because it was first discovered in Rhesus monkeys. People who have instructions to “make d antigen” are referred to as Rh+ (the allele is often symbolized by “+”), while those who have “I don’t know how to make d antigen” instructions are called Rh (the allele can be symbolized by “-”). Since this is a totally separate gene than the ABO blood group, if you’re doing a genetic cross that involves both ABO and Rh, that would be a dihybrid cross.

Ms. Johnston, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Johnstone all entered the same hospital and gave birth to baby girls on the same day, and all three babies were taken to the nursery to receive care, there. Someone later claimed that the hospital mixed up the babies. As a hospital administrator, it is your job to make sure that each pair of parents has the correct baby, so you order blood typing to be done on all the parents and all the babies. Here are the results:

Person Blood Type


Ms. Johnston A+
Mr. Johnston B+
Ms. Johnson B
Mr. Johnson O+
Ms. Johnstone A+
Mr. Johnstone A
Baby A O+
Baby B AB
Baby C B

Use your knowledge of genetics and Punnett squares to determine which baby belongs to which.

Here’s the solution!