It is now understood that many, if not the majority, of human disorders, including cancers, have an underlying genetic component. In this modern age of healthcare, we are expected to choose amongst an array of options for ourselves and for our children rather than respond to specific directives from the medical establishment. In addition, we are called upon as voting citizens to make ethical decisions, e.g. the appropriateness of stem cell cloning. Therefore, it is in the interest of each person to learn more than the fundamentals of biology and genetics in order to make educated choices. In this course we will be concerned with the traditional concepts of human genetics including pedigree analysis, linkage mapping, Mendelian, multi-locus and complex traits, and genetic testing. However, for the most part the course will view human genetics through a molecular lens. For example, the molecular basis of pathological conditions such as Huntington’s disease, hypercholesterolemia, Fragile-X and others will be examined in detail, as will gene imprinting and imprinting-related abnormalities (e.g. Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes). Comparative genomics will be applied to the study of heritable traits in humans. The structure, function, and evolution of the sex chromosomes will also receive special attention. Gene therapy, cloning (stem cell, germ line) and the associated ethical issues will be considered in some depth. Students who are interested in bioengineering or medical school should find this course useful as well as those who have a general interest in the human as an organism.
Credits: 4 AHS
Hours: 2 x week, ~2 hrs per class meeting
Prerequisites: SCI 1210
Usually Offered: Spring
Syllabi, example assignments, rubrics and additional information for each of the courses is available upon request.