Since the molecular biology revolution of the 1960s, a view of biology has developed which regards living organisms as predictable products of their encoded DNA programs. A motto for this philosophy and scientific approach could be “To know my DNA is to know me.” In this tutorial we’ll examine the power and the limitations of DNA analysis and manipulation for understanding life. Students will read and discuss scientific articles that deal with creating artificial life (the field of synthetic biology), environmental DNA sampling (to deduce community structure; to discover new, uncultured species), human genome diversity surveys (to discover the basis for human phenotypic variation and human evolutionary history), comparative genomics to address evolutionary questions (ex., chimps and Neanderthals compared to humans), and resurrecting extinct organisms.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on 5 papers (4-5 pages each) and on in-class performance as a presenter or challenger
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Enrollment Preferences: junior, seniors, then sophomores
Unit Notes: does not satisfy the distribution requirement in the Biology major
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills