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This course studies how bioart blurs distinctions between science and art through the combination of artistic and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. It explores the history of biotechnology as well as social implications of this science.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.


BLOGS

The Pig and The Rooster

When looking at the class in relation to which animals were present and which animals from the Chinese zodiac were missing, two stood out to me: the pig and the rooster. Both of these animals are used in agriculture and common animals that people eat as these animals are pork and chicken respectively. This is not the only reason they stood out to me.

Genetically Engineered Advancements

After having done research on my own Chinese Zodiac animal, being the Rabbit, I came into this week excited. I genuinely appreciated the information I discovered when researching the Rabbit, and was eager to discover more traits about other animals as well. Regardless of the fact that these Chinese Zodiac symbols weren’t as prevalent within the class, they display a similar aspect when it comes to representation. As a result, I sought to discover more about the sheep and rooster. I say this because of the advances the sheep has projected within genetic engineering and food.

Genetic Modification - Progress or Peril?

This week I decided to research some of the animals in the Chinese zodiac that were not included in our class roster. The animals that I chose to focus on were the sheep, the rooster, and the pig. I chose these animals not only because they were a minority within our class but also because I felt that they were very prevalent in the food industry in America. I wanted to do more research into how these animals relate to the topic of genetic engineering and food.

A "Bananas" Topic

Experimenting on animals has been a sensitive topic for many decades because many believe it is inhumane and cruel, while others believe it is necessary for scientific advancement. I believe that I am stuck somewhere in the middle of the two because I identify myself as a researcher. Often, much of the medical knowledge we know today comes from experiments done on animals such as rats, cats, and monkeys.

Man's Best Friend vs. His Closest Relative: The dog and the monkey

The two Chinese Animal Zodiac signs that I wanted to focus on for this assignment were the dog and the monkey because of their proximity to human experiences and traits. We have man’s best friend juxtaposed with man’s evolutionary cousin so I wanted to see the ways that these mythologies play into the scientific uses of these animals and what they can tell us about our human nature. 

Pigs and Rats - Appreciating the Unappreciated

In western culture at least, pigs and rats are typically associated with a lot of undesirable characteristics. Pigs are often associated with slobbishness and slothfulness - and rats are often associated with disloyalty, dirtiness and disease. 

While these associations are pretty wide spread in western culture, they aren't built on a firm foundation. In reality, both pigs and rats are incredibly intelligent creatures, who have greatly contributed to our understand of the world, and deserve to be respected as fellow members of the bio-sphere. 

Animals and Science

since I began conducting research and the University of California San Francisco, I have noticed having animal models such as monkeys, rats, and sheep. albeit my lab did not use these type of animal models for we were studying but we could have chosen do use rats instead of mice. In a lot of research mice are preferred over rats because how fast they're able to multiply and thus the scientists can keep there line going.

The relationship between humans and sheep

This week I chose to research the sheep. My younger sister was born in the year of the sheep, so I was interested to see what I could learn about her zodiac sign. Just out of curiosity, I read about the sheep sign on the HOX website, and I learned that people under the sheep/goat sign are creative, delicate, shy about confrontation, and fond of nature. This aligns with my sister, who is a gifted musician and also despises urban life because of how far away it is from nature.

The Monkey: An Evolutionary Ancestor

       Since we did not have any Monkeys in our class, I chose to research the Monkey Chinese Zodiac sign. Monkeys are primates which means humans are most closely related to primates and share a recent common ancestor. I thought that given this, relating how the Chinese zodiac conceives of Monkeys and our relationship to them would prove to be interesting. 

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