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Welcome to the fifth issue of PrISM! Issue 5 —June/July 2008

GM Crops—are they taking over the world? Pro-GM groups claim that GM (geneticallymodified) crops can give us healthier food, produced in a more efficient, environmentallyfriendly way. They believe that giving the go-ahead to GM crops in Britain will boost the economy and encourage biotechnology companies to invest in research and development. Anti-GM groups argue that only the multinational biotech companies will reap any reward, and say that few farmers will benefit. The potential risks of GM crops to health and the environment outweigh the risks of going ahead, they say. There are two main ways to do it. The first uses a natural soil bacterium called agrobacteria tumefaciens. In nature, these bacteria infect plants. Once inside the plant's cells, the bacteria wedge some of their own genes into the plant's genetic material. In the wild, this makes the plant produce damaging tumours. But geneticists can extract these tumour-causing genes from the bacteria, rendering them harmless, and replace them with genes for useful traits, such as pest resistance or herbicide tolerance. The second method is the gene gun. This fires tiny gold particles coated with genes that produce useful traits directly into a plant's cells. There are two main types of GM crop being grown at the moment. The first can tolerate herbicides that wipe out all other plants. The idea is that farmers can spray their crop with a "broadspectrum" herbicide that will wipe out every plant in the field except the crop. Since weeds compete for water, sunlight and soil nutrients, such GM crops might produce higher yields.

They may also require less herbicide than conventional crops, so growing them may do less damage to the environment. The second major type of GM crop is modified to produce a toxin that kills pests that feed on it. So far, the most common is known as Bt cotton, a cotton plant modified with poison-producing genes taken from the bacterium Bacillus thurigiensis. However, by modifying the genes of a plant scientists are creating something our bodies have never encountered before and therefore is not always adapted to use. The historical record shows that most allergies towards wheat products have occurred since the introduction of GM crops. The only GM crops that have been grown in Britain are for the government's Field Scale Evaluations, a four-year experiment to assess the impact of growing GM crops on the environment. Worldwide, GM crops are grown by at least six million farmers in 16 countries: the US, Argentina, Canada, China, Australia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Germany, Honduras, India, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay. The four main crops that are grown are soya beans, maize, cotton and oilseed rape.


Drugs, changing classes! In January 2004, the government, on recommendation of the advisory council for the misuse of drugs reclassified Cannabis to class C from class B. In 2005 the government asked the mental health problems particularly Psychosis. However, as this request was 2 months before a general election many felt it was as much a political move as a health issue. In January 2006, the council recommended that Cannabis remained a class C. The government however, last month, decided to reclassify the drug to class B. The reason for this about turn was stated as being due to the fact that the newer generation of the drug was up to 3 times

stronger/ more harmful than previous and the effect that this has on particularly the younger people who have a significantly higher probability of developing problems. Cannabis

Pupils Of the Month These Pupil are the Pupils who have excelled in Science this month, well done to all of you! Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 -

Amber Williams Kristian Ormandy Sophie WebsterSmith Liam Bromiley

Please see Mr Downing for a Prize!


King Kong’s Hand WARNING! very messy, do over a sink. •

Get a disposable latex glove and weigh out 10g of sodium bicarbonate. Pour the sodium bicarbonate into only the thumb of the glove. Measure out 50ml of vinegar and pour this into the 3 fingers of the glove furthest from the thumb.

Carefully hold together the wrist of the glove so that the vinegar and the sodium bicarbonate only mix when you’re ready and then shake and see what happens.

Marie Curie Maria Skłodowska was born in Warsaw to Polish parents, Bronisława and Władysław Skłodowski, both of whom were teachers and instilled in their children a sense of the value of learning. Władysław Skłodowski was a teacher of mathematics and physics and she was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first and only person honored with Nobel Prizes in two different sciences, and the first female professor at the University of

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Paris. As one of the most famous fe-

male scientists to date, Marie Curie

tributes and recognitions. In 1995, she was the first and only woman

laid to rest under the famous dome of the

Pantheon, in Paris, on her

own merits, alongside her husband. The curie (symbol Ci), a unit of ra-

dioactivity, is named in her and/or Pierre's honour,as is the element with atomic number 96 - curium


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Find all 8 words to do with this issue to be entered into a prize draw! If you have any articles you would like to submit to next months issue please hand them to Mr. Downing. To access the website: • Visit the temporary website at www.bls-prism.co.nr (will soon be changing to www.bls-prism.co.uk) • Login with Username—Brine Leas, and Password—Prism.

Edited by : Articles By: Website by:

Alec Wilson Alec Wilson Phillippa Brown Phillippa Brown Danni www.bls-prism.co.uk

Danni


Prism Magazine Issue 5