Honors Intermediate Seminar: Genes, Embryos, and Technology of Reproduction

Marc Servetnick
167 Center for Natural Sciences
Office phone:
Office Hours:
Monday 9:30-11:30, or by appointment


Reading List

Useful Web Sites

Course description

This course is concerned with recent advances in reproductive technology.  My aims are:
Class meetings 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.
Texts and readings
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.
Attendance and participation
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.
Each student will make a brief presentation on either a case study, or a news item, as described below.
Case studies
Many interesting 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.)
News items
Reproductive 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.
Book groups
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.
Presentations 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 them independently.
Final paper
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.

Vist Marc Servetnick's home page.
Visit the Biology home page.
Visit the Ithaca College home page
Page maintained by Marc Servetnick and Nancy Pierce.
Last modified:  3/05