This course provides an introduction to key issues relating to genomics in society. It explores social, ethical and policy questions raised by genomics in the context of: synthetic biology, genetics and crops, genetic modification of domestic animals, genetics and conservation, human genetic therapies and human enhancement, and privacy and genetic information.
Genomics, Ethics and Society
Meeting times and location
This course will run wholly online
Learning Outcomes or Course Objectives
All Students who have successfully completed this course should be able to:
Graduate Students registered for this course should in addition be able to:
Textbook and/or Resource Material
This course will run wholly online. Course materials include written text discussing key social and ethical questions raised by genomic and genetic technologies, videos from a number of speakers who are leaders in the field, case studies, and links to a variety of resources. Every week contains reading assignments. Students are also required to participate in graded online discussions, to submit case studies, and graduate students are required to write a research paper. .
Course Topics, Calendar of Activities
UNIT 1: INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL: GENETICS, ETHICS & POLICY
Week 1 Introduction to the course:
Introduction to Key Themes, Values and Ethical Theories..
Readings for everyone:
Week 2 Introduction to Genomics and Policy.
Additional reading for graduates only
UNIT 2: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY/GENETICS
Week 3: Synthetic Biology
Week 4 Synthetic Biology and Biofuels
UNIT 3: GENOMICS AND CROPS
Week 5 Genomics and Crops 1
Week 6 Genomics and Crops 2
UNIT 4: GENOMICS AND DOMESTICATED ANIMALS
Week 7 Genomics and Domesticated Animals 1:
Week 8 Genomics and domesticated animals 2
Additional reading for graduate students:
Week 9 BREAK
UNIT 5: GENOMICS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Week 10 Genomics, Conservation and De-extinction:
Week 11 Genomics and Pest Management:
UNIT 6: GENETIC THERAPY AND HUMAN ENHANCEMENT
Week 12: Genetic therapy:
Week 13: Human Enhancement:
Additional Reading for graduates:
UNIT 7: GENETIC DATA AND PRIVACY
Week 14: Genetic data and privacy 1
Week 15 Genetic data and privacy 2
Additional reading for graduates:
3. Kaye, J. 2012. The Tension between Data Sharing and the Protection of Privacy in Genomics Research. Annual Reviews of Genomics and Human Genetics 13: 415-431
Assessment, Attendance and Grading
Attendance Policy: [Insert your own institution policy]
Late Work: [Insert your late work policy]
Grade Assignment and Weighting:
Undergraduate grade weighting:
1. Participation in six unit discussions: 5% each (30%)
2. Two case study analyses: 20% each (40%)
3. Final case study analysis 30% (30%)
Graduate grade weighting
1. Participation in six unit discussions 3.33% each (20%)
2. Two case study analyses 15% each (30%)
3. Research paper 30% (30%)
4. Final case study analysis 20% (20%)
Grading scale [Insert your own grading scale]:
A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69
F = <60
Undergraduate Assessment Tasks
Contribution to online discussion: 30% of the final grade (5% each).
The course contains six assessed online discussions. Your contribution to these 6 discussions will be worth 30% of your final grade. The online material contains guidance as to what is being sought and an undergraduate grading rubric is available. Opening and closing dates for each discussion will be made available.
Case studies: 40% of the final grade (20% each).
You should choose any two of the case studies available online (excepting the last one) and write them up, following guidance online and with reference to the undergraduate grading rubric, the model case study and the Ethics Assessment Process. Your case studies should be 4 pages maximum (excluding references).
Final case study: 30% of the final grade
This 6-page case study analysis will draw on different aspects of genomics covered on the class, and requires some independent reading. Further details are available online.
Graduate Assessment Tasks
1. Contribution to online discussions: 20% of your final grade.
There will be six assessed online discussions in this course. Your contribution to each discussion will be worth 3.33% of your final grade. Guidance as to what is being sought is provided, as is a grading rubric for graduate online discussions. Opening and closing dates for each discussion will be made available.
2 Case study analyses: 30% of your final grade (15% each)
You should choose any two of the case studies available online (excepting the last one) and write them up, following guidance online and with reference to graduate grading rubric, the model case study and the Ethics Assessment Process. Your case studies should each be 5 pages maximum (excluding references).
3. Research paper: 30% of your final grade
During the second part of the semester, you should write a 10 page research paper on an issue related to genetics, ethics, policy, society (related to your own research, if appropriate).
4. Final case study: 20% of your final grade
You should provide a rigorous analysis of a final case study, drawing on different aspects of the course. This paper will require some independent research. Your case study should be 6 pages long.