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Monday, March 08, 2004

Biotechnology in Agriculture

I ate some papaya seeds this morning, thinking they might be like pomegranate seeds. In a way they were: I felt like I was stuck in hell for the time it took me to wash the awful peppery taste out of my mouth. I googled "eat papaya seeds" to see if they were poisonous. It returned a biology lab teachers' site, where I learned they weren't and that a simple experiment demonstrates the awfulness of the taste is caused when an enzyme in the gelatinous glop encasing the seed combines with the crushed seeds' innards. Clicking around the site, The Access Excellence Collection (which boasts experiments with wonderful names like Alcohol Tolerance in Drosophila and You), I also learned, from the following fascinating description, the proper use of the word "superovulated," which I had till now always conceived as an antonym for "impregnable." I bet those Kalver (sic) training cows are a hit with the farm hands (to use a slightly inaccurate synecdoche).

Biotechnology in Agriculture: Non-surgical removal of fertilized embryos from the Bovine Uterus

by Richard J. Norris

Target Audience:
This activity can be used with Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Advanced Livestock, Genetics, and Biotechnology classes.

Students will simulate the step-by-step procedures needed to non-surgically remove embryos from the uterus of a superovulated cow using the Kalver training cow.

Students will use the Kalver trainer (artificial cow with anatomically correct reproductive tract) to demonstrate and practice the proper procedure for non-surgical removal of fertilized embryos. The students will perform each step of the procedure just as they would on a live cow. Students will operate in teams, one being the flush technician and the other acting as assistant. Upon completion, students will have a complete knowledge of what is being done to remove the embryos and will be prepared to observe and assist with the flush of a live animal.

* Flush supplies for simulation flushes or demonstration purposes are available from "Biotechnology Comes to Life" c/o Dr. Richard Norris, Maries Co. R-II Schools, 503 W. Third St., Belle, MO 65013. We will put together sample flush materials and supplies from used items from previous flushes. We also have video tape of actual flushes and the resulting embryos. Your cost is our cost plus shipping.
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