GEB312 - Genetics and Bioethics

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Last revision date Sep 30, 2019 12:01:14 AM
Last review date Dec 2, 2019 12:15:00 AM

Subject Title
Genetics and Bioethics

Subject Description
GEB312 is a one semester course (3 hrs per week) dealing with some of the more important philosophical and practical issues confronting the veterinary technician.

The commercial exploitation of plants and animals is not a recent phenomenon. Horticulture and agriculture, for example, have been practised since ancient times. This course, however, will concentrate on the application of molecular biology to cellular manipulation. You study recombinant DNA technology and other forms of genetic engineering, antibody and drug production, tissue culturing, plant and animal breeding programmes, and the ethical and legal issues surrounding various types of genetic research. Accordingly, you will appreciate a scientific activity which directly affects medicine, agriculture, a multitude of business activities, as well as the environment itself.

Following an introduction to animal genetics, the second half of the course will deal with the ethics of animal breeding programs and animal research.

The animal rights movement has recently raised a number of important issues which pertain to the care and treatment of animals. This course will provide veterinary technician students with a forum for discussing these issues. Accordingly, it is proposed to examine the legal aspects of animal care, including the use of animals for research purposes and the possible use of alternative approaches, as well as the aims and objectives of the various animal rights groups. In addition, the course will examine the relative merits of animal breeding programmes and factory farming methods. Lastly, the domestication of animals and the concept of "companion animals" will be evaluated.

Credit Status
One credit in the Veterinary Technician Program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1) describe the benefits and the risk of the biotechnological revolution;

2) describe how scientific practitioners manipulate living materials such as:
a) animal cells and tissues
b) plant cells and tissues

3) identify the useful and detrimental metabolic products of microorganisms

4) describe the principles behind genetic engineering and recombinant DNA technology

5) demonstrate an ability to determine the inheritance patterns animals using
Mendelian principles such as:
a) single factor inheritance patterns
b) multiple factor inheritance patterns
c) sex-linked traits
d) describe the major chromosomal abnormalities in animals

6) describe the ethical and legal complications of biotechnology such as:
a) restrictions on confidentiality and disclosure
b) surrogate motherhood
c) embryo transplants in humans and animals
d) patenting of animals and plants
e) scientific benefits of DNA technology

7) describe our current attitudes and perceptions with regard to animals

8) describe how animals have been bred for food, sport and for companionship

9) describe typical breeding management programs in parks, game farms and zoos

10) describe how animals are utilized in biomedical research

11) discuss the question, "Do animals have rights?"

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Execute mathematical operations accurately.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.