When most people think of “biotechnology,” the first things that come to mind are gene splicing and sheep cloning. More broadly, biotechnology can be defined as the manipulation of organisms or their components to make useful products. In this course, we’ll examine the history of humanity’s attempts to bring the living world under our control, and the impacts (positive and negative) of these efforts on society.
Topics studied will include DNA technology (“DNA fingerprinting,” genetic engineering, etc.), the Human Genome Project, personalized medicine, bioinformatics, cloning, vaccines, antibiotics, “superbugs” & pandemics, the industrialization of agriculture, high fructose corn syrup, biofuels, stem cells, and more! A variety of learning activities will be used, including lab exercises, presentations, group discussions, debates, news articles, blogging, group projects, and research papers.