Holy Formaldehyde! Times are changing. As of this fall, thousands of Catholic school students in the Philadelphia area can opt out of that once mandatory, highly stinky rite of passage — dissecting a frog in biology class.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has established a policy under which students in its 20 high schools who have concerns about traditional animal dissection are allowed to use alternatives to frogs, cats and other actual animals.
As an increasing number of high schools and universities are realizing, there are plenty of options to cutting up an animal, and students can learn just as much about biology through models and computer graphics.
“As the 21st century evolves, greater use of virtual dissection experiences will be encouraged and eventually replace the use of scientifically preserved animals,” said Mary E. Rochford, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. “With the availability of virtual lab experiences and other Internet instructional tools, students can arrive at the same learning.”
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s policy is modeled after the Pennsylvania Students Rights Option, a law established in 1992, which enables public and non-public students from grades K-12 who do not want to harm animals as part of their coursework to use an alternative instead.
You can learn more about the Pennsylvania law here.
“The Archdiocese’s student choice policy can serve as a model for other schools in the state of Pennsylvania, in addition to other dioceses across the U.S,” said Laura Ducceschi, Director of Animalearn, a project of the American Anti-Vivisection Society.
Tens of thousands of cats, frogs, and other animals are killed annually, specifically for dissection and other educational purposes, despite available alternatives and studies showing that students learn as well or better by using virtual dissection and other humane alternatives, according to Animalearn.
Animalearn’s website offers a searchable database of over 450 alternatives to dissection, downloadable software, and other humane science tools. A free resource to students and teachers nationwide, The Science Bank offers interactive models, videos, and virtual dissection CD-ROMs and DVDs.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aavs, alternatives, animalearn, animals, anti-vivisection, archdiocese, biology, catholice, cats, choice, class, computer, dissect, dissection, education, free, frogs, graphics, high school, humane, models, options, philadelphia, schools, science, science bank, students, tools, virtual
Short, shaggy, smooth or wiry, nearly all the differences in dogs’ coat types result from variations in just three genes, according to newly published research.
Variations in the DNA in more than 1,000 dogs from 80 breeds were studied by the researchers, and compared to descriptions of various coat types, according to an Associated Press report.
The study, published Thursday in the online edition of the journal Science, found that nearly all of the varieties of dog coats can be accounted for by combinations of genes called RSPO2, FGF5 and KRT71.
“What’s important for human health is the way we found the genes involved in dog coats and figured out how they work together, rather than the genes themselves,” said Dr. Elaine A. Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda.
“We think this approach will help pinpoint multiple genes involved in complex human conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity,” Ostrander, chief of the cancer genetics branch, said in a statement.
The findings apply to purebred dogs: “We don’t know enough about the genetics of mutts,” commented co-author K. Gordon Lark, a biology professor at the University of Utah.
Dogs are descended from wolves and, like wolves, short-haired dogs such as beagles had only the ancestral forms of the three genes, none with variations.
Dogs like President Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog have variations in all three genes, producing animals with curly hair plus a “mustache” and large eyebrows.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: biology, breeds, coated, coats, dna, dog, dogs, fur, genes, hair, long, national human genome research institute, research, science, shaggy, short, smooth, variations, wiry