Manipulating Nature: A History of Biotechnology from Alchemy to Recombinant DNA
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NHIS 3404
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
In this course, we examine the history and significance of biotechnology from the Middle Ages to the present. We consider the role of traditional belief systems, pop culture, and news media in controversies over the application of scientific discoveries, and the way public perceptions of science can affect research trends. Topics explored include alchemical practices and the transition to modern chemistry, fermentation, distillation, the production of food additives, genetic modification of plants and livestock, stem cell research and cloning, in vitro fertilization, vivisection, prenatal screening, synthetic biology, and the potential ecological impact of nanotechnologies.