MCCMCC W1 Genome Editing in T

In Module 1, Lecture 2, we learned how the 5 C’s of historical analysis could be applied to two case studies in the history of genome editing: rDNA in the 1970s and 1980s and CRISPR/Cas9 in the 2000s and 2010s. More specifically, we explored internal and external aspects of change over time and context to learn how even though rDNA and CRISPR were both first studied in bacteria, anticipation regarding relevance for human health and commercializationpropelled changes over time in the research and its social impacts. Then, we began thinking about how all of this information could be applied to identify historical problems related to genome editing and two historical questions that could be asked about one of these problems.

As a reminder, historical problems begin to connectthings we know to details we want to find out through research. The historical problems we identified about genome editing included:

  1. The development of genome editing in both the 1970s and 2000s began in bacteria, but biologists took diverse paths in their applications of this work to medicine and industry.
  2. Both rDNA and CRISPR sparked public responses by the scientists who studied them, in the form of research moratoria. Yet, the contexts in the 1970s and 2010s were quite different in terms of the policy and industry infrastructures available to biologists.
  3. For both rDNA and CRISPR, frictions regarding who deserved credit for inventions arose, but these tensions came from very different lab contexts whether in terms of time period, location, or even gender.

Using the tools you have acquired in this module, you will now have the chance to craft your own historical question about genome editing and start thinking about how you would use historical methods to answer this question. Remember that while both change over time and context are required to pose historical questions, the final 3 C’s–causality, complexity, and contingency–are needed in order to answer them fully. These 3 C’s are the ideas that past causes are unique and diverse, and that particular historical outcomes could always have been otherwise. (Note: Refer to Module 1, Lecture 1 for more details.)

For this assignment, consider what you read in Perusall activity by Lander (2016) and Ledford (2016). Choose one of the historical problems listed above, craft an historical question related to this problem, and explain your thinking for arriving at your particular question. In your response, please include ALL of the following components and adhere to the stated word counts:


Instructions

(1) In at least 50 words:

(a) Tell us which historical problem from the above list you have chosen.

(b) Write an historical question related to this problem using either how or why language. (Note: Refer to Module 1, Lecture 2 for examples of historical questions–but do not repeat these questions in your essay!)

(2) In at least 200 words (total):

Explain your thinking for arriving at this question in terms of the historical method, by addressing each of the following:

(a) Describe specific aspects of change over time AND context related to your question from Module 1, Lecture 2 and/or the readings.

(b) Choose one of the remaining 3 C’s (causality, complexity, and contingency) that would help you to address your question and tell us your choice.

(c) Explain why the question is well-suited to the particular C through direct references to materials in Module 1, Lecture 2 and/or the readings.

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