Topic outline

  • General

    Genetic engineering: who’s driving the train? (NSC601)

    Todd Smith (Sci 110)
    Location Science 216
    Days & Time Monday, Wednesday, 11:30-12:50
    Course description

    In 1953 scientists James Watson and Francis Crick first deduced the structure of DNA, and since then the advances in molecular biology have been staggering. Scientists can make plants resistant to pesticides. Doctors can cure children born with no immune system. Genome sequencing and stem cell technology may someday lead to personalized medical advice and replacement organs grown from your own skin cells. But DNA science also raises serious ethical questions. For example, what risks do we take when we release genetically engineered organisms into the environment, and do pest-resistant GM crops really reduce the use of pesticides? In this course we will explore advances in human understanding of DNA, and the promises and perils associated with scientists' ability to manipulate genetic material. We will examine the personalities driving DNA research, as well as the politics and financial incentives involved.

    This course will provide a general introduction to the nature and function of DNA, RNA, and protein, both in the classroom and in the laboratory. Students with prior experience in these topics are welcome although the course is intended as a general introduction to non-specialists. This course is therefore not considered a foundation course that prepares students for advanced study in the field.

    Prerequisites: none

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        Resources for learning about basic molecular biology, genetic engineering, stem cells, and gene therapy are available at Chemistry at Marlboro College
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          Lab results

          Transformed cells expressing GFP
          E. coli expressing GFP
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          Plasmids on gels
          Agarose gels & plasmids
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            Restriction enzyme digest
            Lambda DNA digest with HindIII
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