Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer N&M Course: The Genetic Science of CSI

Anthropology A211: The Genetic Science of CSI

 1st 6 Weeks Summer 2012 (class #6177) MTW 10:20-12:15
Instructor: Dr. Frederika Kaestle
Carries GenEd N&M & Coll (Case) N&M Breadth of Inq. Credit

Need N&M Credit? Obsessed with CSI? Want

to know the science behind the forensic genetics

on these popular shows? Where are you leaving

your DNA? What can I tell about you from

your DNA (skin color, hair color, eye color,

height, disease, race….)? How likely is it that

your DNA will falsely implicate you in a crime?

Will your next speeding citation include being

swabbed for a genetic sample? Is OJ guilty?

Who is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown

Soldier? Is there
really tiger bone in that love

potion? These and many other questions will be

addressed in this course.

Want a peek at
your own DNA sequence? We’ll

be sequencing DNA from volunteers in this


General Information:
Increasingly, forensic science is featured in the headlines of

newspapers and lead stories on television news. Even more impressive is its presence

in today’s television series line-up. This course explores the genetic science of crime

scene investigation (CSI) through the examination of popular depictions of the science on

television (e.g. CSI, Bones, Cold Case, NCIS) and actual forensic cases (e.g. OJ Simpson, Scott

Peterson, the Romanov family, King Tut). Topics covered will include standard human forensic

genetic identification, use of non-standard markers for unusual situations, analysis of DNA to

predict appearance and race, unusual sources of human DNA, forensic uses of animal, plant and

microbial DNA, accuracy and misuse of forensic genetics, the use of DNA to exonerate the

falsely convicted, the ethical and social implications of forensic genetics, and the future of

forensic genetics. Mitochondrial DNA from student volunteers will be sequenced and used in

class activities. All course readings will be available as free downloadable PDFs, grades will be

based on course exercises, quizzes, discussion participation, and short writing assignments.

prior knowledge of genetics is assumed, and there are no prerequisites for this course. Carries

N&M credit.