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GP Comprehension Paper – Science & Cloning

General Paper Comprehension Sample Question Paper & Answers (Paper 2)

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Science and Cloning

(Note that 15 marks out of 50 will be awarded for your language.)

Note: When a question asks for an answer IN YOUR OWN WORDS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE and you select the appropriate material from the passage for your answer, you still must use your own words to express it. Little credit can be given to answers, which only copy words or phrases from the passage.


[General Paper Tuition Teacher’s Notes: This GP Paper 2 focuses mainly on the issues of Science and Cloning.]

From paragraph 1,
1.  Explain why, to many biologists, the creation of a cloned human embryo was “no big deal (line 1). Use your own words as far as possible [2]


From paragraph 2
2. State the author’s intention in using “I” and “you”. [2]


From paragraph 3
3. Explain what the author means by “Science is about exploring the unknown and cannot offer guarantees” (line 20). Answer in your own words as far as possible. [2]


From paragraph 4
4. What point is the author making by elaborating on the consequences of breaking the law on human cloning? [2]



5. (Vocabulary Question) Give meaning of the following words as they are used in the two passages. You may write the answer in a word or a short phrase. [5]

feeds on (line 21) (verb)
animates (line 36) (verb)
compelling (line 39) (adjective)
freaks (line 60) (noun)
waned (line 83) (verb)


6. According to the passage, there are three arguments against therapeutic cloning:

. That a fertlised egg is a person, entitled to full human rights (line 31)
. That some unscrupulous person will pretend to be doing cellular research but instead implant a cloned embryo in a woman’s womb and produce a baby (line 43-45)
. That even a single cloned infant puts us on the road to genetic dystopia, a combination of Brave New World and Nazi Germany (line 61-62).

From paragraphs 5-11, show clearly how the author counters each of these arguments. Write your summary in no more than 150 words, not counting the opening words which are given below. Write in your own words as far as possible

The author argues that…… [9]


From paragraph 11
7a Identify one phrase which the author repeatedly uses. [1]

7b What is the author’s intention in her repeated use of this phrase? [1]


From paragraph 11
8. explain what the author means by the term, “Winners in the genetic lottery” (line 76). [2]



9. Virginia Postrel say: “Biomedicine does have the potential to alter the human experience” (line 80)… “We should let the process continue” (line 85).
Do you subscribe to the author’s view that we should let the process continue? Explain the reasons for your choice, referring to material from the passage.

You should also use your own experiences and observations to support your answer. You may refer to the various applications of genetic engineering in your illustrations. [9]

H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Science & Cloning:
Source of GP Passages:
Articles adapted from “Yes, Don’t
Impede Science.” Designer World by Virginia Postrel

Note: Ethics is a part theme of this article.

Q1. Explain why, to many biologists, the creation of a cloned human embryo was "no big deal (line 1). Use YOWAFAP... [2]

-low rate of success / many unsuccessful attempts /  took a lot of effort for only marginal returns (1)

-not considered a breakthrough but process is merely another phase of development (1)


Comprehension text used:
“results were modest. It took 71 eggs to produce a single success, and in the best case, the embryo grew to only six cells before dying.” (Line 4-5)

” not a revolution. It’s an incremental step in understanding how early-stage cells develop.” (Line 5)

Q2. State the author's intention in using "I" and "you". [2]

The author uses the first person references to give a more personalised account of the potential, immediate benefits / practical outcomes an individual may enjoy from this research. (1)

The use of “you” attempts to simplify a complicate process, to make a complex procedure easier to understand for the average persons; creates a straigthforward scenario by deliberately leaving out the controversies / thorny issues associated with cloning. (1)


Comments by our General Paper Tutor: You need to do more than rephrasing the scenario, as it will not answer the question. GP students should instead infer the author’s intention. The fact that “Use YOWAFAP” is missing from the question’s phrasing is a hint that the answer is not directly found in the passage.

The key is to be able to elaborate on “personalise” and “simplify”

Q3. Explain what the author means by "Science is about exploring the unknown and cannot offer guarantees" (line 20). Use your OWAMAP. [2]

-it is often the nature of science which involves dealing with uncertainty / uncharted territory / new discoveries (1)

-does not promise answers or solutions / results are unpredictable (1)


GP text used:
“exploring the unknown” and “cannot offer guarantees” (from Paragraph 4)

Note: Mere word substitutions into given sentences do not really work; they make your answer look awkward.

Q4. What point is the author making by elaborating on the consequences of breaking the law on human cloning? [2]

She feels that the punishment is unjustified / too harsh; unfair; ridiculous. (any 2 points)

GP Passage referred to:
“subject to 10-year federal prison sentences and $1 million fines” (L25).
So would anyone who imports therapies developed through such research in countries where it is legal (L26)


Note: again this is an INFERENTIAL question. How can you tell? The phrase , ” use your OWAFAP” is not even in the question. So the answer is NOT directly found from the passage.

Q7a. Identify one phrase which the author repeatedly uses. [1]

“They are the ones”

Q7b What is the author's intention in her repeated use of this phrase? [1]

To show her accusatory tone towards this group of people
To emphasise that she does not agree with them, if they are to blame
to show that these opponents contradict themselves in the way they support the very things they denounce

(Any 1 of the above will suffice.)

Note: “they” does not refer to Kristol and Rifkin. Need to look at the larger group they represent. yes, this question is on  her overall (or general) objection, rather than the specific arguments.

Q8. Explain what the author means by the term, "Winners in the genetic lottery" (line 76). [2]

Who and what we are, are predetermined by our genes and depend on the luck of the chance / draw, just like how one wins or loses in a lottery (1)

The ‘winners” here are people who are deemed by society to be of naturally superior stock / are those who are born robust and intellectually superior and endowed with desirable traits or talents (1)

GP Exam marker’s comments: The main task here is to FOCUS on the keywords, namely “lottery” and “winners”.
what: what words are associated with lottery?
who: who are the winners?
why: why use the word lottery?
where: in what areas are they considered winners?

Note: Do not confused the naturally born ones with the genetically engineered or cloned individuals.


Q5. Vocabulary (5 marks)

Word 1 Mark Half Mark (1/2)
feeds on (line 21) preys on / lives off / gains sustenance from

thrives on

no mark for: lives on

animates (line 36) gives life to / make lively
stirs up
no mark for: starts / triggers
compelling (line 39) convincing / credible / persuasive / believable

substantial / weighty

no mark for: forceful

freaks (line 60) people who are abnormal / physically different from others / shows deviant behaviour

people who are strange / weirdos

no mark for: monsters / creatures

waned (line 83) decreased/ reduced / diminished / weakened / becomes less evident faded
no mark for: disappeared

Q6. Summary Question (SMQ) (9 marks)

From The Passage   Own Words (Suggested Paraphrase)
Argument A: That a fertlised egg is a person, entitled to full human rights (line 31)
Author’s counter-arguments to A

this view treats microscopic cells with no past or present consciousness, no organs or tissues, as people. (L34)…

human identity must rest on something more compelling than the right string of proteins (L38)

It takes much more than just tissues and cells / technical, scientific terms to make us humans
most do not believe we should sacrifice the lives and well being of actual people to save cells. (L37) It is foolish to protect cells at the expense of depriving ourselves of the potential benefits of such research
never get a moral consensus that a single cell… is a human being. (Line 40) It is very difficult to agree on the definition of what qualifies as a human being
that definition defies moral sense, rational argument, and several major religious traditions. (L41) That view is not supported by common sense, logical reasoning or any known religious belief



From The Passage   Own Words (Suggested Paraphrase)
Argument B: That some unscrupulous person will pretend to be doing cellular research but instead implant a cloned embryo in a woman’s womb and produce a baby (line 43-45)
Author’s counter-arguments to B
small possibility… neither especially likely …nor … especially threatening. (L49-50) No reason to worry as there is a very low likelihood of baby cloning occurring
almost any science might conceivably be turned to evil purposes. (L50) any scientific application , not just cloning, can easily can easily be misused / abused; the author dismisses / plays down the potential danger
a healthy cloned infant would not be a moral nightmare, merely the not-quite-identical twin of an older person. (L53-54) a cloned baby is not a frightening thought; it will not be the exact same copy of the original person
parents have been having children for bad reasons since time immemorial. (L56) unfair to question couples’ motive of having children through cloning when people have been reproducing for all kinds of wrong reasons
cloned babies would be the cherished children of couples. (L57) in fact, cloned offspring will be much loved by these parents
Like the “test tube babies” born of in vitro fertilization (IVF) (L59) just like those reproduced through other scientific techniques like IVF



From The Passage   Own Words (Suggested Paraphrase)
Argument C: That even a single cloned infant puts us on the road to genetic dystopia, a combination of Brave New World and Nazi Germany (line 61-62).
Author’s counter-arguments to C
the “eugenics” they attack has nothing to do with state-sponsored mass murder or forced sterilization. (L70) There is no clear link / evidence between social engineering and the discriminatory and heinous actions of some governments
they are the ones who want the state to dictate the most private aspects of family life… control the means of reproduction (L71, 74) in fact, these same people who fear governmental control are the ones who expect the government to determine how they should live
they are the ones who measure the worth of human beings by the circumstances of their conception and the purity of their genetic makeup. (L74, 75) these opponents are themselves guilty of judging a person’s value based on his biological makeup
seek to deny future parents the chance to give their children an equally promising genetic start. (L77) these selfish, hypocritical people do not want others to have the possibility of producing superior children
In a despicable moral equivalency, they equate loving parents with Nazis. (L78) it is wrong of these people to accuse such parents of being perverse in their motives

Any of the above 15 points is worth 1 mark each, up to a maximum of  9 points.

GP Tutorial Teacher’s Comments: This SMQ is most likely one of the toughest question a pupil for General Paper will face. The timed attempt conducted in class saw very few passes. The main difficulty was that many students confused the arguments of the cloning opponents with the author’s arguments. We will try such types of Summary Question again in our lessons.


Q9. Application Question – Suggested Full AQ Answer

Postrel feels that biomedical research is pushing new frontiers and will spur radical discoveries, and that we should allow the progress of science to continue, as we historically have. I agree with the author’s opinion, although I must emphasise that numerous precautions must be taken along the way to ensure nothing gets out of hand.

As a child who has a close relative who is a molecular biologist, I have frequently had the wonders of biomedicine fed to me. I feel that Postrel is accurate in saying that most practical applications of genetic research are far from being realised and that it would be unfair to prematurely stunt the research before any real results have been obtained. A total ban or even basic nuclei transfer does seem to me a little harsh, but rather unsurprising coming from a President who, based on his personal convictions, implemented numerous conservative policies. Nevertheless I really see The stance of the American policy, that of wanting to nip the problem in the bud before it really begins turning out results and is difficult to stop. I believe it is a step too far and quite a bit pre-emptive in nature.

I agree also with her opinion that while reproductive cloning may have reasons to be stopped, therapeutic cloning should be exempt from such a ruling. Already therapeutic cloning is becoming far more viable, with a higher success rate. The shed scientific knowledge from such research – for scientific knowledge is inter-linked and vast – has helped in initial stem cell treatments, which have shown preliminary results in curing paralysis and in rooting out the causes and cures of genetic diseases like Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Indeed, the potentials of therapeutic cloning are quite promising, so much so that a recent UN (United Nations) memorandum on banning human cloning could not reach an agreement until therapeutic cloning was excluded.

Nevertheless, while Postrel seems very optimistic about cloning at large, I personally feel if a country wishes to delve into genetic research, there must be a strong legal and ethical framework to support it. Much as she downplays the risk of abuse of reproductive cloning, we see that eccentric groups of people, like the Raelians in USA, seems very eager to undertake human reproductive cloning. Also in the field of such great pressure and competition,there may be even arise cases of fraud or the breaching of ethical guidelines such as the case of South Korea Professor Hwang Woo Suk recently. Furthermore, although more unlikely, unscrupulous individuals may want to harness biomedical research for malicious means such as developing bio-weapons like a more contagious anthrax or more resilient smallpox. To control these occurrences and minimize the potential ramifications of legalizing genetic research, there must be strict guidelines and tight enforcement of these laws. Singapore, for instance, has set up a bio-ethics committee (BAC or Bioethics Advisory Committee) under A*STAR’s Biomedical Science wing to oversee such procedures in our country.


Our General Paper Teachers will share the actual Exam Marking Criteria for Paper 2 (Comprehension), during the lessons for General Paper.


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