Postgraduate Course: The Origins of Synthetic Biology (PGBI11116)
|School||School of Biological Sciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||If Synthetic Biology is broadly defined as a 'particular fusion of biology and engineering concerned with the design and construction of molecules, biological systems and organisms for useful purposes', this begs the question of how did this new discipline arise? What are its origins? The primary objective of this course is therefore to trace the origins of synthetic biology back to their source, in the hope that new practitioners of synthetic biology will gain insight, enthusiasm and perspective on their developing science.
The course will take the form of open and discursive lectures/workshops on the scientific history of genetics, molecular biology and synthetic biology, with recurrent themes and arguments which must be understood in their context.
Lecture 1. The origins of genetics
Lecture 2. From flies to phage: the birth of Molecular Biology
Workshop 1. Eugenics
Lecture 3. DNA: structure and function
Workshop 2. Women in the History of Science
(Assessment: presentations preparation)
Assessment: group presentations
Lecture 4. The central dogma
Lecture 5. Cloning, Genetic Engineering and the Birth of Synthetic Biology
Workshop 3. Networks and science communications
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||A group presentation on a theme discussed in class (50%)
A final essay of not more than 2000 words (50%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Have a deeper understanding of the history of genetics & molecular biology and the scientific basis of the synthetic biology field.
- Consider the importance of the historical, social and political contexts of scientific discoveries, as well as the ethics of practical biological applications.
- Be introduced to the principles, tools and debates of scientific history.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Enhanced scientific analysis skills.
Deeper understanding of the scientific discovery process.
Insight into the thought processes of individuals who had interesting ideas.
Exposure to the ethical and political debates about all forms of 'genetic manipulation'.
|Keywords||Synthetic Biology,Genetics,Molecular Biology,History of Science
|Course organiser||Dr Elise Cachat
Tel: (0131 6)50 7780
|Course secretary||Mrs Jennifer Morris
Tel: (0131 6)50 5513