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Genetics and Society: A Course for Educators

How have advances in genetics affected society? What do we need to know to make ethical decisions about genetic technologies? This course includes the study of cloning, genetic enhancement, and ownership of genetic information. Course participants will acquire the tools to explore the ethics of modern genetics and learn how to integrate these issues into their classrooms.

Sessions

Eligible for

Statement of Accomplishment

Course at a Glance

About the Course

The AMNH course Genetics and Society: A Course for Educators explores the social, legal and ethical issues of modern-day genetics. Informed by the recently released Next Generation Science Standards, the course provides an overview of recent genetic discoveries and molecular lab techniques. Participants will acquire an understanding of the science and technology behind breakthroughs such as therapeutic cloning and the sequencing of the human genome. You will also have the opportunity to discuss and debate issues surrounding hot-button topics in genetics: If it is ethical to clone your dog, will humans be next? Should we care if our food is genetically modified? What are the pros and cons of gene therapy? Course participants will bring their understanding of modern genetics and associated ethical issues - along with content resources, discussion questions, and assignments - into their own teaching. 

Course Syllabus

This course will focus on:

  • an overview of the science of genetics and genomics 
  • the science and ethics of cloning 
  • the science and ethics of gene therapy 
  • the science and ethics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 
  • learning how to talk to your students about genetics and society

Recommended Background

There are no prerequisites for this course. An introductory background in genetics may be helpful but is not required.

Course Format

This four-week class is informed by the recently released Next Generation Science Standards and will be comprised of weekly lecture videos, articles, discussion questions, and a culminating assignment that will help you integrate what you've learned into your classroom curriculum.

FAQ

What resources will I need for this class?
This class contains all the readings and materials you will need.

Who should enroll in this course?
All interested educators are welcome to enroll in this course. The course content focuses primarily on biological science at the high school level (grades 9-12 in the United States).

What are the pre-requisites for the class?
There are no prerequisites for this course. An introductory background in genetics may be helpful but is not required. 

What opportunities are available at the American Museum of Natural History as part of this class?
The Museum, located in New York City, offers many rich and diverse opportunities to explore genetics. For more information, please visit amnh.org.