Understanding DNA: Identity, Disease, Design

Course Description

The structure of DNA stands as one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century and has led to multi-billion dollar advancements in medicine and agriculture. An understanding of DNA and its applications is necessary to distinguish fact from fiction, make informed decisions, and take full advantage of emerging DNA technologies. This course presents the fundamental concepts related to DNA including its history, structure, function, regulation, and inheritance. The remaining course material explores multiple issues and topics that are founded in DNA technology. These include the causes and treatments associated with genetic disorders, the creation of genetically modified foods, identification through DNA fingerprinting, tracing of family lineages, the applications and ethics of cloning and stem cell technology, and the underlying mechanism of organic evolution. Course methods include lecture, discussion, and hands-on exercises related to the subject material.

Content and Topics
  • Genetic Identity
  • Chromosomes
  • Meiosis
  • DNA Structure and Replication
  • PCR
  • Forensic Genotyping
  • Personal Genetics
  • Genetic Inheritance
  • Inheritance Problems
  • Pedigree Analysis
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Gene Therapy
  • GMOs
  • Cloning
  • Evaluation of media
Goals and Objectives

After completing this course students will:

    • Identify the role of DNA in humans and its application in modern Biotechnology issues.
    • Explain DNA's role in the complexity of life processes, the variation among God's children, and the uniqueness of the individual.
    • Articulate opposing views on scientific issues and show how evidence supports or refutes a conclusion.
    • Integrate gospel perspectives with science in evaluating biological issues.
    • Find and evaluate scientific resources.
    • Become informed and involved citizens.
Course Requirements

Homework assignments, quizzes, and exams.

Course Prerequisites
  • Completion of FDSCI101 with a D- or higher
  • Completion of FDENG101 with a D- or higher
  • Completion of FDMAT108 with a D- or higher
Semesters Taught

Winter Spring Fall

Course Lead

Russell Thurston
Russell Thurston