Since the release of the first human genome about two decades ago, our understanding of genetics has improved significantly. Facilitated by massive developments in DNA sequencing technologies, we now live in a society where genetics and genomics, and applications thereof, have become household terms. We hear about genetically modified food crops with extra nutrients or drought resistance, and personalised medicine offers new hope (or hype) in health care. Genetic tools are routinely used in forensics and gene doping is a growing concern at sporting events. Synthetic biology promises new frontiers of technology, and the day we use DNA for data storage is not that far away.
What does this all mean? Is it ethical? Is it legal? What are the social implications that come with these applications?
This interactive, fully online course will introduce students to fundamental genetic concepts using real life applications and implications of genetics while providing an opportunity to get hands-on experience in analysing and interpreting genetic data. Students will be encouraged to critically evaluate the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic advances throughout the course. On completion, we anticipate the students will be better prepared to survive in the “genome generation” and participate in informed debate and decision making with regard to incorporating genetic interventions in everyday life.