Understanding Genomes

Syllabus & Schedule

Sept 8th – Class 1: An Introduction to the Class – Understanding Genomes
Class overview, expectations and initial discussion

Sept 15th – Class 2: The Friar who loved Peas
Gregor Mendel and the beginning of genetics, leading up to the discovery of the 3-Dimensional structure of DNA

Sept 22nd – Class 3: The Birth of Molecular Biology
The machinery of Life, DNA’s role in life on the planet and the central dogma of Molecular Biology

Sept 29th Class 4: Rise of the “Amateurs”
Overview of the amateur DIY Bio & bioart scenes, tools & tricks of the trade plus a brief overview of Synthetic Biology.

Oct 6th – Class 5: Playing God
Introducing recombinant DNA techniques, gene therapy and the modern laboratory

Oct 13th – Class 6: Mapping Genomes
Intro to genomics, gene/genome sequencing and intro to bioinformatics

Oct 20th – Class 7: Midterm Presentations
Student presentations, Catch-up and/or review of specific topics

Oct 27th – Class 8: DNA & the Human Past
Personal Genomics, Personal DNA testing, examples of services/data

Nov 3rd – Class 9: For the Love of Money
Biotechnology for profit and the ramifications, Gene patents, Genetic modifications and impact on the food supply, ex Monsanto,

Nov 10th – Class 10: Genetic Fingerprinting & Gene Hunting
Genetic Fingerprinting, Genetics of Human disease, Gene hunting

Nov 17th – Class 11: Biohack the Planet
Environmental activism. the importance of species preservation, endangered/invasive species genetics


Dec 1st – Class 12: Widcard Class
This class will be used as a work session, a review of key concepts, or a chance to squeeze in some other cool stuff depending on interest and stress levels

Dec 8th – Class 13: Wildcard Class
This class will be used as a work session, a review of key concepts, or a chance to squeeze in some other cool stuff depending on interest and stress levels

Dec 15th – Class 14: Final Presentations
Final Presentations, Final thoughts, wrap-up. Beer.



For Class: Highly recommended.
The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James D Watson
Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life by Marcus Wholsen

For Reference or Related Reading:
DNA: The Secret of Life by James D Watson
Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code by Matt Ridley
From Genes to Genomes: Concepts and Applications of DNA Technology by Jeremy W. Dale and Malcolm von Schantz (reference only)
Introduction to Genetic Analysis by Carroll, Doebley, Griffiths, and Wessler (reference only)
Protein Structure and Function by Petsko and Ringe (reference only)
The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture by Eugene Thacker
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley
An Entirely Synthetic Fish by Anders Halverson
Other online reference and tutorials



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