Introduction to Social, Ethical and Political Issues Associated with Biotechnology

TPSS 416

Faculty:

Ania Wieczorek

Semesters taught:

Spring 2017

Goals:

The primary objectiveof this class is for students to become familiar with the diverse topics of agricultural biotechnology and the issues associated with genetic engineering in agriculture. For example:

      Ethical issues - Are we playing God?

      Patents - Do we have a right to patent life forms?

      Food safety issues – Are these foods safe?

      Environmental issues - is it safe to the environment?

      Globalization - Are a handful of companies going to control world food production?

 

The secondary objective of this class is for students to learn and understand that from the social, ethical and political perspective, topics of genetic engineering are very complex and charged with emotions and fears in may cases. The only way to educate others about this topic is to understand both sides of the debates, and be an unbiased source of information.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Introduces concepts of biotechnology, fundamental issues associated with use of this technology, with special emphasis on agricultural biotechnology.

Description:

The primary purpose of this class is for students to become familiar with the diverse area of agricultural biotechnology and the issues associated with genetic engineering in agriculture. This course has a General Education ‘ethics’ designation.

Pre-requisites:

TPSS 200 or BIOL 171 or NREM 210, or consent

Grading:

 

 

 

Other:

Student learning outcomes:

1)   After completing this class students will gain an understanding that modern biotechnology is as controversial as it is promising. Learning the associated ethical issues can help engage them to learn the relevant science concepts and to learn the skills necessary to contribute to ongoing social dialogue about science and society.

2)   After completing this class students will be empowered to communicate appropriate social, ethical, and political issues associated with biotechnology to both professional and non-technical audiences.