This course explores the current uses and emerging applications of biotechnology in agriculture and critically addresses the related scientific and policy issues. The course will cover scientific basis for the technologies, specific applications, and associated health, environmental, social, and ethical concerns. The course is co-taught by professors specializing in plant biotechnology and agricultural ethics and will draw upon both scientific and philosophical approaches using a combination of lecture, discussion, and essay formats.
Required: BS 161 or PLB 105 or equivalent.
Recommended: CSS 350 or ZOL341 or ANS 314.
Fall of even years
Paul Thompson, Department of Philosophy 526 South Kedzie 432-0136 email@example.com
To provide a knowledge base about biotechnology and its applications in agriculture, and use that understanding to ask questions and evaluate concerns relevant to current and future uses in plant and animal agriculture.
Course Learning Objectives
Understand the scientific basis for genetic engineering and applications in agriculture
Become familiar with various applications of genetic engineering in agriculture – their purposes, uses and impacts
Examine environmental, health, social and ethical concerns and controversies associated with the use of genetically engineered products in agriculture
Critically evaluate information and logic underlying opposing points of view
Improve ability to express and justify viewpoints on controversial topics orally and in writing
Introduction to biotechnology and the controversies surrounding it
Introduction to dialectical structure of argument, ethical reasoning and analysis
Evaluation of information and sources
Plant breeding, crop evolution and the molecular basis of heredity
Molecular basis of phenotype
Molecular genetic and genomic tools
Plant transformation technologies
Crop biotechnology applications
Approaches to risk management: cost-benefit analysis and precautionary principle
Food safety: evaluation, regulations, labeling
Sustainable and organic agriculture
Biotechnology in relationship to large-scale and small-scale farming
Impact of biotechnology on developing countries
Food aid and GE crops
Germplasm diversity, preservation, ownership
Intellectual property rights and patenting
Biotechnology and globalization of agriculture
Animal agriculture, animal biotechnology
Animal welfare/animal rights
Animal cloning and transgenic animals
Applications of biotechnology for animal agriculture