College of Arts and Sciences | Genes, Bad Genes (N&M) (3 cr.)
E105 | 11500 | Hanratty

9:30 AM  10:45 AM TR

Have you ever wondered why you have red hair and freckles; 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 address in the course.

The course has a two-fold focus. First, we 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 consider the impact of human genetics on
society. We examine some of the misconceptions that have surrounded
the inheritance of genetic traits and disorders in other times and
societies. We look at 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 also consider the Human
Genome project and the impact it may have upon our society, both
positive and negative. Finally, we consider some of the legal and
bio-ethical issues being raised as a result of the rapid explosion
of genetic technology.

Students are encouraged to become active participants in the
learning process. In addition to being exposed to new concepts in
lecture, they are given 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 participate
in a required collaborative learning group that meets once per week
(50 minutes). Learning group sign-up takes place in class during the
first week of classes.