Introductory Biotechnology

PLS 170C2
3 Units
Undergraduate
Fall
Ken Feldmann
Biological Sciences - Is it possible to make 10,000 or even 100,000 clones of the perfect soldier (a Navy Seal) and use these clones to fight our wars (Clone Wars)? While this is illegal in a large number of countries, the answer is yes. Would this be ethical? With more information, you can make an informed decision. What if the millions of deaths that occur every year due to malaria could be prevented by introducing transgenic mosquitos that would breed with the wild populations to disrupt the life cycle of the causative agent? Would this be ethical? Several human organs can now be artificially produced in the laboratory and transplanted to individuals where a replacement is required. It will very soon be possible to transplant ¿designer¿ organs from pigs to humans. Is either of these technologies preferable to you when you are in need of an organ? Today in professional sports, players are often tested for performance enhancing drugs. In the future, will there be a test for performance enhancing transplanted or artificial organs/limbs? Biotechnology is the field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms or their products to modify human health and the environment. This definition encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying organisms. Local and national newspapers, magazines, and news shows are sprinkled with advances in biotechnology every week. It can be daunting to understand the importance of the stories and how the content will affect your life. You will be presented with many examples of biotechnological advances and given the background to understand them so that you can make informed decisions. Subjects covered include approaches to: making a better beer, remediating contaminated soils, feeding a growing population, developing biofuels, remediating global warming, producing transgenic animals including fish, development of superbugs, producing pharmaceuticals in the milk of various animals or in plants, providing advanced health care for an aging population, and developing cures for the many human ailments. Finally, as 10% of the world¿s cropland is planted in Genetically Modified (GM) crops, much higher in the U.S., the positives and negatives of these technologies will be discussed.