Meets undergraduate General Education "Areas of Knowledge" course requirement for "Individuals & Society" and "The Natural World". No prerequisites.
Have you wondered if your destiny is written in the stars or your genes? Occupy the Human Genome: Do you trust private companies with your genetic information? A man in Tennessee got a lighter sentence after a brutal murder because he had a Violence Gene: Can your genes "make you do it"?
In this course, we will be learning and discussing how genetic developments are actively changing the world around us and how genes and genetics continue to fascinate, connect and divide human society. The course surveys compelling genetic and social issues emerging in the wake of the Human Genome Project. For example, many fresh genomic applications have ethical, societal, political and legal dimensions that are only just beginning to be appreciated. This course will develop students’ ability to analyze these dimensions, and to evaluate new genetic technologies that are currently being developed in the marketplace. We’ll use perspectives from public health, clinical medicine, anthropology, law, ethics, and social sciences to investigate the hopes and hype presented by genomics. In weekly discussion sections, students will review, discuss, and go more into depth into the ethical, legal, social, and scientific issues brought up in readings and lectures.
By the end of the course each student should be able to:
- Define and interpret the fundamental underpinnings of genetics and genomics
- Describe the relationship and impacts of genomics on public health
- Identify risks and benefits of genomic innovations
- Evaluate the public health, clinical, and social utility of genomic innovations
- Critically analyze media presentations that present genetic science and its applications