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GEB2105 The Genes: Home

Course Description

The course discusses the fundamental discoveries in molecular biology, public misunderstandings of genetics, and the latest progress in biotechnologies. The topics include the origin of genetics, Human Genome Project, inherited diseases, gay (and other traits) & genes, genetic test, ancient DNA, Lamarck and epigenetics, genetic engineering, genetically modified organisms (GMO), gene therapy and population genetics. It helps the students understand the mechanism of biotechnologies and make informed decisions in the future.

Recommended Books

The Gene: An Intimate History

This book relates the grand tale of how scientists have come to understand the role genes play in human development, behavior, and physiology. Mukherjee deftly relates the basic scientific facts about the way genes are believed to function, while making clear the aspects of genetics that remain unknown. This book is organized both chronologically and thematically. It begins with the story when gene is fist discovered, then goes through the discovery of DNA, the technologies gene sequencing and gene cloning, the Human Genome Project, and its invasion into political and cultural realms regarding racial identity.

She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, perversions, and Potential of Heredity

This book shows how our concepts of heredity have long been a powerful force affecting all economies, politics, and cultures. Zimmer threads together many intriguing narratives—each a story about how researchers tackled, and often misunderstood, heredity. Some of those misconceptions—such as Darwin’s mistaken pangenesis theory of all body cells influencing heredity— have arguably benefited science by stimulating debate and better research. Others, such as those motivating Nazi eugenicists, have augured only brutal racism. Zimmer challenges the widespread misconception that DNA alone determines human identity, adducing compelling evidence that the way genes express themselves depends on environment, nutrition, and even culture.

Recommended Databases