DNA can solve a crime, identify a future disease, and distinguish our common ancestors. A remarkable molecule, it has often been referred to as the “building block of life.”
Advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to an explosion in our understanding of DNA and how it impacts us, both as individuals and as a society. This course will introduce the concepts and techniques associated with DNA science and address some of its diverse applications including medicine, forensics, evolution, and genetically modified organisms.
Students will explore current topics and cutting-edge techniques associated with these applications, and experience the process of scientific inquiry first-hand, from understanding what it means to be a scientist to practicing the analysis and interpretation of experimental results. Be prepared to think critically, like a scientist!
Progress in DNA science are not without controversy. Students will investigate and explore these issues through online discussion about the ethical, legal, and social implications of DNA science.
"It really got you thinking and made me research things that I never would have on my own time. I liked blogging because looking at others’ opinions really helped understand the topic more."
- DNA Science student, Summer 2015
Time commitment: Your course will open on a Monday, two days in advance of the Wednesday course start date to give you time to get to know Canvas (Brown's learning management system), review course expectations and strategies for your success, learn about your instructor, and help us to learn a bit about you. These introductory activities should take you just a few hours to complete.
Plan to spend approximately 10 hours per week on coursework. To be successful in this course, you must have reliable internet access, and will be expected to participate in the course multiple times each week.
Computer with reliable, high-speed internet connection | Note: Mobile devices (smart phones, tablets) are also supported, but may be less than optimal for some required assignments. We recommend using these as supplemental access points in addition to your computer. We also recommend downloading the Canvas Mobile App for iOS or Android devices for the best experience on mobile devices.
Up-to-date Internet browser supported by Canvas, Brown's learning management system
Headphones, earbuds or speakers
Webcam and microphone
Adobe Flash Player browser plugin (Course elements may require Flash and will not work on an iPad.)
Word Processing application to save and open Microsoft Office formats (.doc,.docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx)
Supplementary materials: none