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. Stem cell technology may someday lead to permanent cures for a variety of diseases. But DNA science also raises serious ethical questions. For example, should we release genetically engineered organisms into the environment, and should researchers use human embryos as a source of stem cells? 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.