Anthropology | The Genetic Science of CSI
B400 | 12704 | Kaestle
No prior knowledge of genetics is assumed, and there are no
prerequisites for this course.
Increasingly, forensic science is featured in the headlines of
newspapers and lead stories on television news. Even more impressive
is its presence in today’s television series line-up. This course
explores the genetic science of crime scene investigation (CSI)
through the examination of popular depictions of the science on
television (e.g. CSI, Bones, Cold Case, NCIS) and actual forensic
cases (e.g. OJ Simpson, Scott Peterson, the Romanov family, King Tut).
Topics covered will include standard human forensic genetic
identification, use of non-standard markers for unusual situations,
analysis of DNA to predict appearance and race, unusual sources of
human DNA, forensic uses of animal and plant DNA analysis, forensic
uses of microbial DNA, accuracy and misuse of forensic genetic
analysis, the use of DNA to exonerate the falsely convicted, the
ethical and social implications of forensic genetics, and the future
of forensic genetics. Mitochondrial DNA from student volunteers will
be sequenced and used in class activities. Course readings will be
available as downloadable PDFs, grades will be based on course
exercises, quizzes, discussion participation, and four short essays.