LSAT 35 – Section 1 – Question 12

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT35 S1 Q12
Most strongly supported +MSS
+Easier 147.471 +SubsectionMedium

Kevin’s explanation

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The statements above, if true, most strongly support which one of the following?

This is a Most Strongly Supported question.

Gene splicing can give rise to new varieties of farm animals that have only a partially understood genetic makeup.

This statement tells us a fact about gene splicing – it might give rise to new kinds of farm animals with genetics we don’t fully understand. Genetically mysterious super-cows? Weirdly buff chickens with six-pack abs? Let’s see where this is going.

In addition to introducing the genes for whichever trait is desired, the technique can introduce genes governing the production of toxins or carcinogens, and these latter undesirable traits might not be easily discoverable.

Apparently gene-splicing can introduce genes that control the production of poisons and cancer-causing substances. In addition, it can be difficult to detect “these … undesirable traits” – this is a reference to the production of poisons and cancer-causing substances. It seems that gene-splicing might, for example, make a cow produce stuff that’s poisonous or causes cancer. And we might have a difficult time realizing that the genetically modified cow produces this stuff.

The stimulus doesn’t lend itself to any specific prediction – let’s go to the answers and look for what’s most strongly supported.

Answer Choice (A) All toxin production is genetically controlled.

“All” toxin production? We know that some toxin production is affected by genes. But we can’t infer that every single kind of toxin production is genetically controlled. That would be the logical flaw of hasty generalization.

Correct Answer Choice (B) Gene splicing to produce new varieties of farm animals should be used cautiously.

This answer contains “should,” which makes it a normative claim. These kinds of claims are inherently more difficult to support. However, there is enough in the stimulus to suggest that we should be cautious about gene splicing – we know that this technique can produce “undesirable” traits in farm animals, and that these traits can be difficult to detect. Calling those traits undesirable means that we don’t want to produce those traits in farm animals – so that’s a reason to be cautious about gene splicing. It produces something that we don’t want and we might not discover the problem easily.

Answer Choice (C) Gene splicing is not effective as a way of producing new varieties of farm animals.

We can’t speak to how effective gene splicing is at producing new farm animals. We know that it can produce new farm animals. But is this a highly effective technique? Minimally effective? The stimulus doesn’t say any more about this.

Make sure not to conflate the effectiveness of gene splicing with the desirability or wisdom of gene splicing. The stimulus does give us facts that would suggest we might not want to engage in gene splicing. But that’s a separate question from whether gene splicing is effective at creating new farm animals or not.

Answer Choice (D) Most new varieties of farm animals produced by gene splicing will develop cancer.

“Most” means over half. The stimulus doesn’t support a claim about over half of new farm animals with respect to developing cancer.

Even if this answer had said “some” at the beginning, it still would not be supported. We know gene splicing can lead to a trait governing production of cancer-causing substances. But that doesn’t imply the animals with these traits will develop cancer – maybe the concern is that people will get cancer from consuming these farm animals or drinking their milk.

Answer Choice (E) Gene splicing will advance to the point where unforeseen consequences are no longer a problem.

Why is this answer so optimistic? The stimulus didn’t give us any evidence about what will happen in the future with gene splicing. This answer is trying to tempt you based on your real-world assumption that science and technology constantly develop. But we don’t know what, if anything, will happen with gene splicing. Maybe scientists will be stumped and can’t make any more progress at reducing or eliminating side effects of gene splicing.

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