The Uses of DNA

Course taught in: English
Instructor: Dr. Peter Luykx

Course Description

After a brief historical survey of what DNA is, what role it plays in living systems, and how it is analyzed, this course will examine gene editing, genetic modification, forensic applications, ethical and social issues surrounding DNA information, the use of ancient DNA studies in human history, its use in conservation issues and non-biological uses.

Week 1 History of DNA research, DNA structure, methods of DNA analysis. Inheritance of DNA sequences
Week 2 Gene editing, gene modification, applications to the treatment of cancer and other genetic diseases
Week 3 Ethical, legal and social issues: privacy, forensics, patenting, relatedness
Week 4 Old DNA: finding answers to historical questions, studies of human migrations, tracing ancestors
Week 5 Use of DNA in conservation; bioprospecting; DNA barcoding
Week 6 Non-biological uses of DNA: information storage, nanorobots, chemical detection

Dr. Peter Luykx received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California (Berkeley). He was on the Dept. of Biology faculty at the University of Miami 1967-2005, teaching General Genetics, Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, and led undergraduate discussion courses on social and ethical issues in human genetics. He is currently a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a former member of the American Society of Human Genetics and the Genetics Society of America. He has published scientific papers in the areas of general genetics, human analysis, and evolution.