Course Description

Course Name

Introduction to Genetics: Current Applications

Session: VSJW1120

Hours & Credits

60 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.

Overview

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course is an introduction to genetics, focused on its applications in current issues related to the diagnosis of human diseases, paternity, taxonomy, ecology, conservation, agronomy and environment. After understanding the general concepts about genetics, research projects performed in Costa Rica will be presented and discussed, in order to understand what kind of questions science can answer using genetics as a tool. Field trips and laboratory practices will be engaged in as an opportunity to study how samples are collected, processed and analyzed in a biological context.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE

By the end of this course students will understand the main applications of genetics as a tool to provide important data for answering current questions in a diversity of biological topics, and will have a general comprehension about specific genetic studies performed in Costa Rica and their main results.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
- By the end of this course students will be able to understand the main concepts in relation to genetics and DNA molecular markers.
- Also, students will comprehend general concepts and main issues related to several topics where genetics could be used as a tool, for example: genetic diagnosis of human diseases, paternity, taxonomy, ecology, conservation, agronomy and environment.
- Through presentations of guest researchers, students will appreciate relevant examples (mainly Costa Rican cases) of the use of DNA molecular markers to answer questions related to the topics mentioned above.
- After field trips and laboratory practices, students will understand how samples for genetic studies should be collected, how DNA is extracted and visualized and how a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is performed and analyzed.
- By the final presentations, students will be able to discuss literature related to genetics and its applications.

TEACHING METHOD

The course will include lectures by the professor, in order to explain the main concepts, not just about genetics and its applications, but also about the main issues science clarifies using genetics
as a tool. In addition, guest speakers will share their experiences applying genetics to answer questions in their research topics. Field trips and laboratory practices will be performed in order to observe and understand how samples are processed and analyzed during genetic studies. At the end of the course, oral presentations and discussions about review papers related to genetics applications in a variety of topics will be performed by students.

FIELD TRIP DESCRIPTION
This course includes one mandatory field trip with duration of 2-3 days. The objective is to follow a research project and observe how samples are taken in the development of genetic studies. The projects could include research about sea turtles, monkeys, bats, plants, among others.

At the beginning of the course, the students will know the date and destination for the field trip, and in advance the professor will explain the field trip details, for example: description of the place and projects, location, weather, schedule, activities and things to bring.

Lodging and main meals are covered by the course, but students should bring some extra money to buy water and snacks. The mandatory fieldtrips in this course are not excursions and only students enrolled in this course may attend.

*Course content subject to change