Honors Intermediate Seminar: Genes, Embryos, and
Technology of Reproduction
Center for Natural Sciences
Monday 9:30-11:30, or
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This course is
concerned with recent advances in reproductive technology. My aims
to help you to learn background material on the biology underlying reproductive
technology, including cells, DNA, genetics, and embryonic development.
to help you to understand the main areas of current reproductive technology,
including in vitro fertilization, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, cloning,
stem cells, and gene therapy
to direct you to various readings about reproductive technology
to facilitate discussion of different ideas and perspectives on reproductive
technology and its implications
are TTh 10:50-12:05. Please notify me in advance if you will be unable
to attend class. Because the course depends on discussion and participation,
all students are expected to attend class; failure to attend, or missing
too many classes, will result in a lower grade. Please turn off cell
phones before class begins.
It is sometimes
necessary for me to contact you by e-mail between classes. You must
check your Ithaca College e-mail account daily and you must not let the
mailbox fill up, so that you are unable to receive new messages.
After the lectures
that make up the first part of the course, the course will be based largely
on reading and participation, so you must attend, and participate.
Multiple absences, or late arrival in class, will result in a lower grade.
will make a brief presentation on either a case study, or a news item,
as described below.
issues raised by reproductive technologies are best illustrated by individual
cases (which are often more bizarre and arcane than we could imagine).
Your assignment is to research a specific case: describe the problem, the
dilemma created, and the ultimate resolution of the case. The presentation
should be short (~10 minutes) and is intended to illuminate a topic we
are discussing. Please hand in a short (1-2 page) summary of the
case study to me by the class meeting following your presentation.
(However, you may find it helpful to prepare this sheet before your presentation.)
technology is in the news, all the time. There are stories of genetically
screened babies, assisted reproduction, court cases, and political news
related to public policy on stem cells and cloning. Five students
will present news items early in the course. Each presentation should
be ~10 minutes, and (I hope) will raise issues that we will discuss later
in the semester. Please hand in a short (1-2 page) summary of the
news item to me by the class meeting following your presentation.
There are many
many books on the revolution in reproduction, and its implications.
We cannot possibly read much of the available interesting literature on
this topic. To try to expose each student to part of this area in
greater depth, and to share these explorations, students will - in pairs
- choose a book to read and present to the class later in the semester.
I will provide a starting list of possible books, but other books may be
chosen, with my permission. Please sign up for books and presentation
times as soon as you have chosen a partner, and a book.
may take any form you like. You and your partner will have ~25-30
minutes to present your book. Each student will also write a critical
review of their book, to be handed in one week after their class presentation.
Students may work together on ideas for these book reviews, but must write
There will be
a final paper, in which you will make a policy recommendation on an issue
we have discussed during the course. We will discuss the details
of the paper.
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Last modified: 3/05