Genetic Engineering

In this nanodegree, we will revise the basics of Molecular Genetics, concepts and techniques through theory and practical/simulation games. Through this, students will learn all about genetic engineering, its history and applications in different areas like agriculture, industrial biotechnology, research, molecular medicine and the real side of science fiction.
By David Ruchman - Teacher


Genetic Engineering, or genetic modification, is the process by which an organism’s genome is manipulated using biotechnology. It refers to the change of the cell’s genetic makeup, including the transfer of genes within and across different species to produce improved or novel products and/or organisms. An organism generated through genetic engineering is considered a genetically modified organism (GMO).

The process involves identifying a DNA of interest (normally a gene) and inserting it into the host genome where we want to see the outcome or harvest the product like insulin.

In this nanodegree, we will revise the basics of Molecular Genetics, concepts and techniques through theory and practical/simulation games. Through this, students will learn all about genetic engineering, its history and applications in different areas like agriculture, industrial biotechnology, research, molecular medicine and the real side of science fiction. Specifically, “making the humans of the future”

Week 1: Concepts and theory

* DNA
* Chromosomes
* Genes
* Molecular genetics techniques 
      * DNA isolation
      * PCR
      * restriction enzymes 
      * DNA sequencing 
* Introduction to genetic engineering.
      * Identification of gene of interest
      * Gene cloning
      * Cell transformation
           * Recombinant product (insulin)
           * Cure of a disease
           * The gain of resistance/resilience

Week 2: Applications Part 1

* Agriculture. 
      * Selective breeding
           * New crops
           * Resistant crops
           * Improved shelf-life
           * Flavour and nutrient genes
           * Fast-growing genes
* Forensics
      * Concepts and uses in criminology
* Creation of new species

Week 3: Applications Part 2

* Molecular Medicine
      * Molecular pathology
      * Novel drugs development
      * Identification of mutation-linked diseases

* Human Genome Project
      * History
      * Characterizing all genes of the human being
      * Cloning Mammals (Dolly)
      * Correction of genetic disorders in the embryos
      * Tailor-made humans
           * Physical and cognitive improvements
               * Future soldiers and superhumans
               * Deep space travel

Week 4: Final project presentations

Students will present one of their own projects related to genetic engineering.This could be experimental or each student’s specific subject of interest. Depending on the number of registered participants, students can present their projects individually or in groups. Students will be given a ten minute time slot to present each project and its findings. We can’t wait to see what they discover!

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