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Genetics is a topic commonly discussed in the media. It may be an article in a newspaper or magazine, a TV news report or current affairs program, a TV series or a film. Topics include the discovery of genes associated with health such as cancer, genetic testing, recombinant DNA technology in agriculture, forensic analysis in crime, paternity cases, identification after a disaster, are commonly depicted in print, TV and film.
This subject will provide the background to understand and critically evaluate the claims made in the media. These references to genetics in the media will be used as the context to introduce principles of genetics such as correct genetic terminology; genes, alleles, chromosomes; patterns of inheritance such as constructing a pedigree; DNA, RNA and how genes are expressed, the influence of environmental factors on gene expression; and mutation leading to variation in the population. An introduction to basic genetic principles and techniques such as those described in the media will be discussed so that a student can evaluate the claims made in films and TV with respect to genetic analysis in crime and identification, in particular.
Intended learning outcomes
At the end of this subject a student should have:
- a basic understanding of the terminology of genetics;
- a basic understanding of patterns of inheritance;
- a basic understanding of commonly used genetic techniques;
- the ability to review a media report about genetics critically;
- sufficient knowledge to access reliable information on-line and in print.
Students should develop generic skills in:
- critically evaluating a media report
- accessing information sources and discerning use of the internet
Last updated: 20 February 2024