Biotechnology, the deliberate modification of life forms for human benefit, is a rapidly expanding branch of biology that increasingly impacts human activities. This course will introduce students to this subject by describing the ways humans generate and use genetically modified organisms. An emphasis will be placed on the underlying biological knowledge that has enabled these genetic manipulations. We will consider examples of microbial, plant, animal, and medical biotechnology. We will also include controversial applications of biotechnology, such as human gene therapy, transgenic plants, and reproductive cloning, and there will be opportunities for discussions of the merits and concerns surrounding these issues.
There will be three examinations, which will include a variety of question types (multiple choice; short answer; essay). Students will also be required to participate in a panel discussion presentation on a current topic in biotechnology, and they will submit a short (two-page) position paper on a controversial issue in biotechnology. Students will be evaluated using a combination of in-class examinations, presentations, and term paper.
The course is intended for all non-biology-related majors with an interest in understanding the concepts of biotechnology.
There are three hours of lecture per week with discussions and student presentations on current biotechnology topics of their choice.