College Of Arts And Sciences | Good Genes, Bad Genes
E105 | 0209 | Hanratty, P


Have you ever wondered why you have red hair and freckles or why
heart disease or cancer seem to "run" in certain families; whether we
will eventually be able to use gene therapy to cure genetic disorders
such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, or what impact this
explosion of genetic engineering may have upon our society?  These
are some of the issues we will address in the course. The course will
have a two-fold focus.  First, we will introduce students to the
basic concepts of human genetics, discuss a number of human genetic
disorders and the ways in which they arise, and examine the impact
that genetic engineering and recombinant DNA technology are having on
the diagnosis, treatment and possible cure of some of these
disorders.  Second, we will consider the impact of human genetics on
society.  We will examine some of the misconceptions that have
surrounded the inheritance of genetic traits and disorders in other
times and societies.  We will at look some of the attempts that have
been made to "control" human heredity, including the eugenics
movement, mandatory sterilization and marriage laws, and the
successes and failures of genetic screening programs.  We will also
consider the Human Genome project and the impact it may have upon our
society, both positive and negative.  Finally, we will consider some
of the legal and bio-ethical issues being raised as a result of the
rapid explosion of genetic technology.
Students will be encouraged to become active participants in the
learning process.  In addition to being exposed to new concepts in
lecture, they will have an opportunity to discuss issues raised in
class, interact with guest lecturers, and express their thoughts in
the form of short essays.  Outside the lecture, students will
participate in a collaborative learning group once a week.