Part I.

Background: Biofilms are bacterial communities living on most surfaces you come in contact with on a daily basis; shower head, oral biofilms (tooth, and gums), food, and many other surfaces. The success of biofilms is partly due to the availability of nutrients within an environment that will determine growth and continued biofilm formation (the recruitment of other bacterial species).


Scenario: You just joined Professor research lab. She gives you an incomplete PowerPoint document that contains unlabeled figures, and tells you to create a figure legend for each of the 4 figures found in the “PowerPoint” document using the information from the background section. Although there is a lack of information within each figure, you must do your best to interpret each figure based on the labels present.


Part II.

Once you have created figure legends, you must tell Professor how the Figures from the PowerPoint document relate to what you have learned from section 24.1 and 24.3 about populations. You are required to use a minimum of 2 figures from sections 24.1, and 2 figures from section 24.3 in your explanation. (30 words maximum)


Points: 0 – 50 points plus 10 points for List of References.


The paper is due in Dropbox (Bioethics Papers Basket) by 3 a.m., Sunday, 5/1.  Turn in a hard copy at the beginning of class time, Wednessday, 5/4.


Research the subject extensively and comprehensively using any online or print source. You must present arguments for both sides of the issue.


Length of paper: approximately 3 pages excluding References, double-spaced, typed. BE CONCISE.


The topics will be assigned in an Excel file Bioethics Assignment in DocSharing.  You will have three topics to choose from which you will only write one.  Find your student ID number (last 4-digit) and the topic #  – no substitution.


Do not cut & paste from other sources.  Avoid using direct quotes.  If you must quote a statement, use quotation marks and reference the source (Papers with greater than *5%* similarity in the originality report generated by Turnitin will result in points deducted).  Plagiarizing papers or statements will result in a “0” for the work.


Format of the paper:


Topic # (You do not have to re-type the topic descriptions) and of course, your name and section #.

Description of the issue: background and introduction. Cite the source of data or facts that you used.


Points (Pros). Cite the source by using a number as listed in References.


Counterpoints (Cons) Cite the source by using a number as listed in References.


Conclusion: You may stay neutral or take a side in drawing the conclusion based on the strength of the pro and con arguments that you presented. If your opinion is based on religion, you should present a balanced argument based on the view of all major religions.


References: List the source you cited according to the order in your text (MLA, APA or Pubmed format). Note: A list of references to be used in writing your paper is due in eCompanion Dropbox by 3 a.m., 4/4.


TOPICS FOR BIOETHICS PAPER: Note: Laws/policies may have changed since publication of these prompts.  Please research your topic and update the information as appropriate.


Topic #




1.       NFL players Dave Duerson and Junior Seau committed suicide by a gunshot on the chest so their brain could be studied for trauma due to years of sustaining concussions that was ignored by the NFL.  Seau’s family released detailed and well-controlled studies done by neurologists at the National Institutes of Health. They unambiguously showed that his brain was similar to “autopsies of people with exposure to repetitive head trauma injuries.”  The annual economic impact of the NFL is in the multi-billion dollars and football is the major sport in schools at all levels.  If you are the NFL commissioner, what would you do to balance the competitiveness of the sport and health and welfare of the players?


  1. After several failed attempts, the California legislators recently revived the End of Life Option Act which is inspired by the story of terminal cancer patient Brittany Maynard who moved to Oregon where the right to die is legal so she could die peacefully and with dignity. The bill however, is strongly opposed by many religious and some medical groups. Research the current status of the law and public opinion and give your reasons for and against this bill.

3A US Senator Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill HR 212, the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which states that “human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” Similar legislation, known as “personhood” bills, has been introduced and passed in several states. Politics aside, what are the ethical, social, medical implications of this movement?  Argue BOTH sides of the issue.


3B  There are approximately 600,000 leftover frozen embryos in fertility clinics throughout the country.  Most of these embryos probably will never see the day of light.  Should Congress pass laws prohibiting destruction of these embryos because many of our representatives believe that life begins at conception?


4A The Supreme Court took up a deceptively simple question in a case brought by breast cancer patients and medical researchers: Are human genes patentable? Give your reasons as to why AND why not human genes are patentable.


4B  Along the same line, Supreme Court just ruled that farmers who buy seeds that are patented may not replicate them without the patent owner’s permission, In this case, the patent owner of the genetically modified seed that resists weed killers is the giant agribusiness company Monsanto which made the notorious “suicide seeds.”  The point of contention is “the doctrine of patent exhaustion.”  Research this case and defend both sides of the arguments.


  1. You frequently see this ad on college newspapers. “Exceptional women needed for confidential egg donation to an infertile couple” The compensation is about $5,000 to $10,000.  Should this be allowed and if so, what type of regulation if any, should be imposed on this kind of transaction to protect the donor?
  2. “Two million protesters around the world march against Monsanto” the giant agribusiness company that produces genetically modified (GM) seeds, maintains that “its seeds improve agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving resources such as water and energy.”  Similar initiative requiring labeling of GM foods was narrowly defeated in California.  Should food products containing GM organisms be labeled?
  3. Outsourcing is a highly charged issue in globalization economy. What is not generally known is that most of the human clinical trials before a drug is approved are conducted offshore in poor third-world countries where stringent regulations protecting human subjects are lacking and the cost is low.  Is it morally or economically justifiable for pharmaceutical companies to continue this practice to keep the drug cost down?
  4. Environmental endocrine disruptors (EED) are chemical (mostly industrial pollutants) that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system resulting in adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife, especially during pregnancy. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides such as dioxin-like compounds, DDT, and bisphenol A. If you are the Chief Administrator of the US EPA, what will you do with this group of essential everyday products?
  5. A Minnesota dentist created a worldwide controversy in the hunting and killing of a lion from the Zimbabwe National Park in July 2015. Supporters of big-game hunting contend that it is legal in most Africa countries and ethical with many benefits including bio-conservation. Others claim that hunting especially of certain protected species is not a sport and should be outlawed.  Research the current status of this case and discuss the pros and cons of big-game hunting.
  6. A couple who both have achondroplasia, an inherited form of short stature, desire a child with short stature as well. They informed the genetic counselor they would abort a fetus destined to grow to normal height.  If you were the counselor, how would you advise the parents about the genetic basis and pros and cons of their options, so they will be fully informed before they reach a decision?
  7. After years of wrangling, The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will make the “morning –after pill” or Plan B available without a prescription to girls ages 15 and older, and on drugstore shelves.  However, a judge ordered the pill be made available to girls of all ages without a prescription.  What is your reasoning in favor of AND oppose to this ruling.
  8. A new vaccine against cervical cancer which is caused by a common sexually transmitted virus, human papillomavirus, and killed about 288,000 worldwide each year.  The LA Unified school District plans to make this vaccine available to middle and elementary school girls.  Some parents object to this plan on grounds that this will present a false sense of security and will encourage promiscuity. If you were the LAUSD superintendent, what would you do and why? [Texas governor Perry signed an executive order mandating similar action]
  9. After several false starts, human embryos are cloned ( for experimental therapeutic purpose which is different from reproductive cloning (e.g., cloning of Dolly the sheep).  The idea of cloning humans is highly controversial.  Should human cloning be completely banned?



Name Comment
Topic # 2
Description of the issue: background/introduction 10
Points (Pros) 10
Counterpoints (Cons) 10
Conclusion 5
Page limitation 2
Reference 5
Overall 6
Total 50*


*Point deducted for papers turned in after the deadline and with higher than 5% similarity as determined by Turnitin.


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