telkov
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I’m in Y12, and I was intending to start thinking of an EPQ properly in June before lockdown. Due to lockdown, but I’m still not sure which of my ideas to do and how to refine them to make my title specific enough without being too specific..

My initial idea was about CRIPSR-Cas9, since I’m really passionate about genetic engineering and have been for some time and I’ve already read books about it, but I’m worried it’s a generic and popular choice. I also don’t know how to make a title around it. I know I need to focus on a specific area, and I’m interested about applications in blindness/neurodegenerative conditions/cancer but I’m stuck beyond that. I’ve also follow the CRIPSR ‘journey’ for a while now, so I may be a little biased.

My second idea is whether ageing is reversible, whether biological immortality is achievable, and whether this should be aimed for (dunno how to word that) - but I feel like this is a really overdone topic that won’t interest examiners anymore. I also think this may be too broad.

I have many other smaller ideas, such as something to do with Junk DNA, bacteriophages, other gene therapies (particularly interested in neurodegenerative or eye conditions), T-cell therapies or pharmacogenomics/personalised medicine, but I don’t know as much about them and am even more stuck about forming an actual title around them.

I know this is a huge word dump and I’m overcomplicating things, but i would really appreciate any advice on what I should do. If anyone has also completed a biochemistry-related EPQ I would also really appreciate general advice about structure and how to write a science EPQ.
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Arctic Kitten
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Don't worry, your 'examiners' are your teacher, and they are not really involved in your research journey, so they at most see 2 or 3 presentations about said subject. Also, you are not graded by how new and different your research is, but by how thorough, informative and objective it is. Your teachers are also not deep into this research, so as long as you can have a more interesting look into the subjects, it will be fine. There are not a lot of topics that college students can choose anyway.

About the title, think newspaper headlines (kinda). Something like Genetics Engineering -The future of curing human disease, or When will genetics engineering becomes the new norm?

About advice, just start it early. Keep a good journal and documentation. I suggest keeping a table in word, or a powerpoint, saving links of all site you read, the particular excerpts that interest you, and the main viewpoint of the paper
eg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA, DNA is a long polymer made from repeating units called nucleotides, each of which is usually symbolized by a single letter: either A, T, C, or G., neutral open online encyclopedia, definition.
so that later on you don't need to search for that paper again, and open a dozen of pages, crowded your browser.

Have a clear outline. Not 'Introduction', 'Body', 'Conclusion'. But something more detailed: 'Some strange experiment using gene engineering that is fascinating'; 'Definitions: Gene. Genetic Engineering', 'How does it work', etc
Write a brief (even bad is ok) intro to give you the initial kick, then work on your Body first. Then the rest can be written later.

That's all I can say, good luck!
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telkov
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(Original post by Arctic Kitten)
Don't worry, your 'examiners' are your teacher, and they are not really involved in your research journey, so they at most see 2 or 3 presentations about said subject. Also, you are not graded by how new and different your research is, but by how thorough, informative and objective it is. Your teachers are also not deep into this research, so as long as you can have a more interesting look into the subjects, it will be fine. There are not a lot of topics that college students can choose anyway.

About the title, think newspaper headlines (kinda). Something like Genetics Engineering -The future of curing human disease, or When will genetics engineering becomes the new norm?

About advice, just start it early. Keep a good journal and documentation. I suggest keeping a table in word, or a powerpoint, saving links of all site you read, the particular excerpts that interest you, and the main viewpoint of the paper
eg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA, DNA is a long polymer made from repeating units called nucleotides, each of which is usually symbolized by a single letter: either A, T, C, or G., neutral open online encyclopedia, definition.
so that later on you don't need to search for that paper again, and open a dozen of pages, crowded your browser.

Have a clear outline. Not 'Introduction', 'Body', 'Conclusion'. But something more detailed: 'Some strange experiment using gene engineering that is fascinating'; 'Definitions: Gene. Genetic Engineering', 'How does it work', etc
Write a brief (even bad is ok) intro to give you the initial kick, then work on your Body first. Then the rest can be written later.

That's all I can say, good luck!
Thank you! One quick question, though, if you don't mind: some methods of genetic engineering (restriction endonucleases) are touched upon in the AQA Biology course for A level (which I take), but CRISPR is not mentioned nor the specific areas I would be covering in my EPQ. Is it still OK to do my EPQ on CRIPSR, or should I do ageing/immortality because it isn't mentioned in the spec at all?
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Arctic Kitten
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(Original post by telkov)
Thank you! One quick question, though, if you don't mind: some methods of genetic engineering (restriction endonucleases) are touched upon in the AQA Biology course for A level (which I take), but CRISPR is not mentioned nor the specific areas I would be covering in my EPQ. Is it still OK to do my EPQ on CRIPSR, or should I do ageing/immortality because it isn't mentioned in the spec at all?
Yes, it's completely OK!

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tbh I think the genetic engineering ones is gonna be more interesting than ageing - there are a lot more directions you can go from. ageing is already a very specific topic.
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