This is a core module in the Biosciences field for a number of BSc (Honours) programmes. The project module forms a very important part of the degree programme and probably constitutes the largest piece of independent work a student is likely to undertake during his/her undergraduate studies. There are several types of projects that may be offered to students: a laboratory or field-based project, data projects involving acquisition of data and information from surveys, questionnaires, computer simulations or bioinformatics, or a systematic review of research literature that includes the collection, comparison and original presentation of reported research data. The end point is the same in all cases; review and critical evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information and data to address a hypothesis or research question, and the production of a written report.
It takes an average of seven to nine years and an investment of about $55 million to develop, test, and market a new genetically engineered product. Because of this great cost, companies have sought to patent the results of their discoveries. In 1980 the Patent and Trademark Office of the . Department of Commerce issued its first patent on an organism that had been produced with recombinant DNA. The patent was for an oil-eating bacterium that could be used to clean up oil spills from ships and storage tanks. Since then, hundreds of patents have been granted for genetically altered bacteria, viruses, and plants. In 1988 the first patent was issued on a transgenic animal, a strain of laboratory mice whose cells were engineered to contain a cancer-predisposing gene. The mice are used to test low doses of suspected carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances, and to test the effectiveness of anticancer therapies.