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251 David Sadava: The Great Courses: Genetics

Explore the science of genetics, from its history and basic principles to cutting-edge research on gene therapy and CRISPR.

David Sadava: The Great Courses: Genetics


In "The Great Courses: Genetics," Dr. David Sadava guides listeners through the history and science of genetics, from the early experiments of Mendel to the latest breakthroughs in gene therapy and CRISPR technology. Along the way, he covers topics such as DNA replication, transcription and translation, genetic variation, and the genetic basis of diseases. The course also explores ethical issues related to genetics, such as the use of genetic testing and the implications of genetic engineering. With clear explanations and engaging examples, this course provides a fascinating look at the science that underpins modern genetics.


Title: The Great Courses: Genetics

Author: David Sadava

Publishing year: 2013

Publisher: The Great Courses

Length in hours: 12 hours and 03 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Genetics is the study of how traits are inherited from one generation to the next, and how variation arises within populations.
  2. DNA is the molecule that encodes genetic information, and its structure and function are critical to understanding genetics.
  3. Genetic diseases can result from mutations in single genes, or from complex interactions between multiple genes and environmental factors.
  4. Advances in genetic engineering, such as CRISPR technology, have the potential to cure genetic diseases and create new forms of life.
  5. Ethical considerations related to genetics include issues such as privacy, informed consent, and the potential for discrimination based on genetic information.
David Sadava: The Great Courses: Genetics

5 funny quotes

  1. "In Mendel's time, a pea was not just a vegetable, it was a laboratory animal."
  2. "Genetics can make for some interesting family reunions - just ask the Habsburgs."
  3. "Geneticists have discovered that most people are carriers of several dozen rare diseases. Don't worry, though - most of them are harmless."
  4. "Geneticists are notorious for naming their genes after things that have nothing to do with their function - like Sonic Hedgehog."
  5. "If you're looking for a pet, you might want to avoid getting a purebred dog. Inbreeding can lead to genetic disorders and behavioral problems."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "We are learning that the genome is far more complex and interactive than we ever imagined."
  2. "The notion that genes are just blueprints for building organisms is far too simple."
  3. "Genes are not destiny, but they do influence our health and behavior."
  4. "The rise of genomics has revolutionized our understanding of life, but it also raises difficult ethical questions."
  5. "Genetic information can be a double-edged sword - it can empower us, but it can also be used against us."

5 dilemmas

  1. How much information should people have about their genetic predisposition to diseases, and who should have access to that information?
  2. What are the potential risks and benefits of using gene editing technologies like CRISPR to modify human embryos?
  3. Should employers be allowed to use genetic information to make hiring or firing decisions?
  4. How should society regulate genetic engineering in animals, such as creating new breeds or resurrecting extinct species?
  5. How can we ensure that genetic research is conducted ethically, and that the benefits are distributed fairly across society?

5 examples

  1. The Human Genome Project, which involved scientists from around the world, was completed in 2003.
  2. The CRISPR-Cas9 system, which allows scientists to edit genes with unprecedented precision, was first discovered in bacteria.
  3. Huntington's disease is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene, which was identified by researchers in 1993.
  4. Angelina Jolie famously underwent a preventive double mastectomy after testing positive for a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.
  5. The company 23andMe offers genetic testing services that allow customers to learn about their ancestry and potential health risks.

Referenced books

  1. "The Gene: An Intimate History" by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  2. "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters" by Matt Ridley
  3. "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins
  4. "Mendel's Demon: Gene Justice and the Complexity of Genetic Determinism" by Mark A. Largent
  5. "The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA" by James D. Watson

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"The rise of genomics has revolutionized our understanding of life, but it also raises difficult ethical questions."

David Sadava: The Great Courses: Genetics
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