Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Genetics and Its Impact on Society

Instructor: Diane Melroy

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Genetics has revolutionized human understanding of biology and medicine, and has given scientists and technologists unprecedented power to cure disease, control reproduction, shape crop and other organisms, and even, maybe, alter human beings from the inside out. Genetics tells us how cancer works, and the origin of human racial differences. This course will examine both the science and the human issues concerning genetics. We will learn how to understand and predict basic inheritance, how human genetic diseases work and are passed on, pedigree analysis, DNA, and chromosomes and chromosomal abnormalities. The material will be presented at a level accessible to anyone; no prior knowledge of biology will be assumed.

Genetic technologies are pervading society from the doctor's office to the courtroom and it is essential for everyone to understand their implications. The questions of how, when, why and for whom these technologies are used cannot be left only to scientists. An educated citizenry must be willing and able to help make important decisions. We will examine the usage and impact of genetic technologies including genetic testing, forensics, genetically modified organisms, reproductive technologies, cloning, and genetic medicine in our lives today and in the future.

Grading will include testing, written assignments, and class participation.

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Last Update: February 6, 2012