Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course This is another great course with excellent lectures. This is a good way to accumulate more knowledge in an enjoyable experience.
Date published: 2020-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from informative and entertaining Great couse and beats watching the news during these difficult Coronavirus times. Presentation was very well done by an outstanding Professor.
Date published: 2020-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Presents a good understanding I have viewed half the lectures so far and have found Dr. Sadava's method of teaching easy to understand and interesting by his use of relavant stories. I have studied some genetics back in 1978 while taking biochemistry and I wanted to update my basic knowledge. I feel that I am half way there and I found the history of genetics interesting as back in 78 we were learning some state of the art science.
Date published: 2020-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A bit dated, but a very good introduction I have listened to a number of the Great Courses series on biology (Biology: The Science of Life, Dr. Sapolsky's Biology and Human Behavior, Dr. Leary's Mysteries of Human Behavior, Dr. Robinson's (quite poor) Great Ideas of Psychology, Dr. King's Biological Anthropology, Dr. Larson's Evolution: history of controversy, and a number of others). I've also taken both undergraduate Biology and organic chemistry. I was afraid that this course would be duplicative of much of what I already knew. But it was on sale and I thought I would listen to it. Much of Dr. Sadava's course is covered in other courses by the TC, but much of this course was new to me. I should note that I listened to the audio of the course. Some reviewers complained about the video presentation, and I can't comment on that. Dr. Sadava did not seem nervous or flustered on the audio, though I would agree that many of his jokes fall flat. Still, it didn't bother me overmuch. "Dad jokes", as my son would say. They were not too distracting. I also thought, in contrast to a number of (rather strident) reviewers, that he was fairly well balanced in his presentation of the pros and cons of genetic research. In fact, for a scientist (i.e., someone who both makes his living in the area, but also someone who is far better informed than most of us - including said reviewers) I thought his presentation bent over backwards to present a critical view of genetic research. I learned a great deal from the course. Once we got past lecture 8 (lectures 1-8 lay out the history of the discovery of and basics of DNA) virtually everything he covered was new to me. To list some specifics of what was new and interesting: the mechanisms of gene manipulation, the mechanism of DNA ID and DNA testing (Dr. Sadava couldn't have imagined in 2008 that I would be listening to his course with a full genetic report from both 23 and me and National Geographic for less than $150 each - but I had no idea how the testing was actually done or what it's actually showing), or all the stuff about genetic medicine and what GMO is actually all about. Overall, this is a good course. I'd love to be able to give it 3.5 stars. The content is so good, but it is dated. Also, Dr. Sadava, while a very adequate presenter, is not the dynamic, engrossing teacher that many of the Teaching Company professors are. It really does deserve more than three stars, but maybe falls just short of four. But I definitely recommend the course in the absence of an update. P.S. - having read some of the reviewers, some of whom list themselves as "intermediate" level of subject knowledge, I'd hate to see their expectations of "advanced" level of knowledge. I've listed myself as an intermediate learner, but I couldn't quote chapter and verse for crspr ... stuff.
Date published: 2019-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Out of date Professor Sadava does a fine job presenting the material. Unfortunately the field of genetics is moving so fast that the material is dated. Without a discussion of developments since the course was released, particularly crispr-cas9, which has had a profound effect on what can be done with genetics, the course is now incomplete.
Date published: 2019-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Lectures! I have not started these courses yet. However, I have started reading over the course content and lecture outline. They look fantastic. Cannot wait to get started. Both courses are something I am very interested in.
Date published: 2019-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still Holds Value? Regarding germ-cell modification, Sadava states (L21): "No one has suggested (human) germ line gene therapy..." But in November 2018 Chinese doctor He Jiankui claimed to have arranged the birth of genetically germ-cell modified twin girls. He has received severe worldwide criticism (including breaking Chinese law). While Sadava had wisely noted in L1 that "genes do not predict what will happen in an organism" in support of this tough stance, it seemed that his 2008 course might be dated. So I repeated it to determine its fate in my library. IN BRIEF: the course allows an excellent basis for understanding these modern issues. IN DEPTH: So is the course dated? It seems to me that understanding genetics starts with this course. Sadava does an excellent job getting us through connections between genome -> transcriptome (RNA) -> proteome (protein phenotype) -> metabalome (biochemical expression of the phenotype) -> phenome (outcomes). He briefly hints at the epigenome (molecules that feedback to the genome to turn genes on or off). With this base, he launches into gene manipulation, biotechnology, and DNA manipulation. Finally, he provides 7 lectures of real world applications in many fields that clarify any accumulated confusion. Sadava ends with a brief discussion of objections to genetic manipulation and notes the precautionary principle: "if any action might cause harm...the onus is on the proponents..." An EXAMPLE raised my own concerns (L11): artificially mutagenized custom DNA was used to create a sweet protein that was "too sweet" because its 3D fit was "too tight" to come off tongue receptors. My immediate reaction was to ask what other sugar receptors, besides the tongue, could it stick to? Might this synthetic DNA product irreversibly clog up the GLUT 4 transporters that take sugar into a starving cell after the insulin signal is received? I don't know if that was even on their laboratory radar. So yes, negative reviewer Prussiantte, I feel your pain. NOT COVERED THIS COURSE: 1.) In 2008, the research method was pretty much to follow a single gene. In 2016, multi-omics was introduced that allows multiple genes to be traced through their layers of biological networks simultaneously; 2.) Darwin's condescending view of Neanderthal man was exploded in 2014. This amused me, as his profile and that of the Neanderthal always seemed similar; 3.) The discovery that the large amount of "junk DNA" may be used to transcribe DNA into sRNA acting at the epigenomic level (see above). PRO: In L3 Sadava notes: "Primary sex...is determined...by the presence of a gene called SRY on the Y chromosome." CON: Not sure of L16's Kimura proposition that calculates that a protein-based allele change rate of 1 per 20 million years is superior to natural selection because this doesn't seem to address the biochemical complexity and multi-gene network needed to assimilate such a protein change.
Date published: 2019-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great narration with depth and detail. I watched this lecture with limited backgrounds of biology and it enlightened me with his using of simple language in a concise manner. This is the best science course ever for me.
Date published: 2019-06-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Waste of time and money! Dr. Sadava clearly knows his genetics. Unfortunately his research takes him so deeply into the subject that he is unable to come out to the real world and explain things clearly. The first few lectures are an overview of the subject, mostly from an historical perspective. Few things are explained clearly and much of his discourse leaves you hanging, with obvious questions he doesn't address. The remainder of the course involves how genetics is applied in today's world. Much of that is interesting but I bought the course to learn genetics. The rest I can easily get from the Sunday supplement of my local newspaper.
Date published: 2019-04-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good start but would have liked more science I liked this course quite a bit. The introductory lessons on the fundamentals and core mechanisms of genetics was clear and insightful. And the lessons on applied science were eye-opening. However, I felt that the instructor was too eager to jump from the underlying scientific concepts to stories on applied genetics. Although these examples were interesting, I was really hoping for more detailed explanations of the fundamental principles and mechanisms. It almost felt as if the instructor thought that his audience would get bored if they had to absorb too much hard science.
Date published: 2019-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good intro to genetics I really enjoyed this course. The professor does a great job at introducing the basics of genetics; including lectures on genes, DNA, base pairs, recombinant DNA, and proteins, to name just a few. While this course covers a lot of ground, I removed one star for the exclusion of any mention of epigenetics. Considering the time he spends on other topics like the 2 lectures on agricultural biotech, it is really inexcusable to not have at least one lecture on epigenetics. He also is pretty wishey-washey on agricultural biotech in general, mentioning "arguments" against GMOs in the last lecture, while not spending any time refuting those arguments. GMOs are the most studied biotech in history. We have been studying them, and using them, for ~30 something years now. His lecture needed to be pro-science, not agnostic. There is a scientific consensus regarding GMO tech. It would have been pertinant for the prof to say as much. So I docked this course another star for that. Overall, it was very interesting though, and I would recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the basics of genetics.
Date published: 2019-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating genetics topics I am very happy I bought it for my own review to teach genetics classes. It is very helpful. Professor David Sadava did an amazing job lecturing the course.
Date published: 2019-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Green Revolution, Cancer and More Having studied physics and math but as one who never even took high school biology I found this course absolutely fascinating. Professor Sadava uses his 24 lectures to great effect, bookending the course with a beginning lecture that sets the stage, describing the early domestication of plants and ending with a lecture on biotech and agriculture. As I live in Mexico where Dr. Norman Borlaug developed the initial high-yielding wheat (and later he did the same in India), I found the course approach particularly personal. This is almost a side benefit, as the meat of the course begins with Mendel and goes through the search for DNA, the understanding of genes and chromosomes, breaking the genome code and more. And of course details on the genetic code, manipulating DNA, the ways that this manipulation can be (and is being) used to fight against birth congenital defects and cancer. And more. Sort of science wrapped up in a detective story. Some reviewers have critiqued some of what Dr. Sadava has presented and wished for better, or more accurate, or more in-depth lectures. For me the presentation hit the mark. I learned a lot of things of which I was unaware, and I am in awe of many of the advances that have been made in this field that result in a greater future for mankind. There was just enough technical detail presented that I feel I now have a basis for understanding what is going on in the field, but it was not so deep that I was unable to follow or understand the concepts. Of course those with a rigorous background may well wish for something with more depth. Not being one of those, I salute Professor Sadava for his ability to present a complex subject with enough depth to be well past hand-waving, but not so much as to be incomprehensible to a lay person. The graphics were quite good and really helped me understand what was happening. Professor Sadava’s presentation was not particularly dynamic, but his passion for what he was doing was evident, even so. He made the subject material shine through, quietly.
Date published: 2018-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A perfect intro to genetics and biotechnology. I am pretty new to this field but recently I’ve been interested in learning more about it, so I bought this course. I truly enjoyed it! I would say, that even if you are familiar with the field it would be a good refresher of the basics. For someone new to the field like me, it’s a great place to start. There were some terms that were a bit hard to grasp, but nothing that a google search can’t handle. This course is about a decade old and there are new discoveries and technologies that have emerge since then. I would love to see a second edition of this course with all the updated material.
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too light I was disappointed in the lack of depth in this lecture series. Perhaps I didn't read the synopsis well enough. The general series on Biology (Prof Nowicki) has a much better description of Genetics and DNA than this dedicated course.
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Overview of Genetic Progress The course gives insight into how "we got here" and the way forward in bio-physics. Am looking forward to an update when it is available.
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really!?!? Sadava - the savant of Genetics - gives his entire series of lectures about genetics standing in front of a poster displaying a Left-Handed Double Helix! The irony!!
Date published: 2017-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent job delivering a complex subject I just finished the final lecture and feel this is an excellent introduction to genetics for a layperson, which I am. I am kinda sad it's over - now on to nanotech. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information! I am not all the way through yet, but am very pleased with the material and the manner in which it is presented. Very clear and concise.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A step outside my comfort zone As a retired engineer/applied math guy, biology is not one of my areas of expertise. Of course, that is why I purchased this very interesting course! One quick negative before going to all the "pro's". Dr. Sadava is not the most engaging speaker, seeming a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera. I do wish he would have spent more time early on describing the DNA structure in detail. However, the pieces came together for me as the lectures went on. The cell nucleus is absolutely the most amazing chemistry set in all of science. The 24,000 human genes (on 23 chromosome pairs) each consist of short snippets of the DNA helix, each segment having 100's of thousands base-pair "rungs" on the spiral ladder. These rungs combine to form a total of 20 amino acids in a practically infinite possible set of sequences on the individual genes. The numbers are mind boggling. Each cell nucleus (except red blood cells) contains a total length of 2 meters of DNA snippets. There are 10 trillion cells (+ or -) in a human, thus the length of DNA in a human is 20 trillion meters. Yes, that is 25,000 rounds trips to the moon! The course goes into many aspects of genetic manipulations, sequencing methods, genetic diseases, plant modifications. The details are too involved for this review; just realize that it was essentially all new info for this non-biologist. There is no understanding the concept of how incredible complexity evolved into this entity of DNA that can replicate, repair and occasionally mutate. Starting with mainly C H and O atoms, their assembly into this complexity called life must surely have involved the hand of a Creator beyond my understanding.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Get a better teacher A fascinating topic poorly delivered, He means well but I felt like in a sophomore high school class, please get a better teacher.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful presentation of a challenging Subject A complex and difficult subject to unwind. Professor Sadava is excellent in his ability to make the subject understandable and interesting, at the same time. It has been a great for both me and my wife.
Date published: 2016-10-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just OK I found this course a little on the short side. I was hoping for more lectures, I guess. Furthermore, the info is a little dated due to the rapid development of this field. I found the animations to be very disappointing. They were helpful, but could have been much clearer, detailed, and illuminating, like those in the Greek and Roman Technology course. These seemed very half-hearted.
Date published: 2016-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good – with a few reservations Professor Sadava gives an excellent presentation on the basics of genetics, yet I wondered about the following: 1) Unless I missed it, I never heard Dr. Sadava use the term "codon". As the name of a nucleotide triplet along DNA that represents a literal code-word for an amino acid, it's obviously an important term. 2) In his presentation of abiogenesis, Dr. Sadava described the famous Miller-Urey experiment but never mentioned the fundamental problem that plagued it: Miller used a mixture of gases that was "reducing" (ammonia, hydrogen, and methane) in order to chemically finance the reactions that would be necessary to produce organic building blocks like amino acids; but geochemists pointed out that the evidence shows the early atmosphere was not reducing, and in fact, was rather inert, similar to the present atmosphere. Miller himself admitted his results depended on a reducing atmosphere, and repeated the experiment with a mix of gases more closely resembling the present-day atmosphere. The results produced a tar with no amino acids. Although later researchers have tried to save Miller's original results, they have done so by means of "ad hoc" assumptions; e.g., electric discharges near erupting volcanoes (which produce some reducing gases, but which still emit mainly CO2 and water vapor), or adding buffering agents like carbonates or iron to neutralize destructive nitrites that would otherwise stop amino acid formation; etc. In any case, Miller's experiment can scarcely be used as convincing evidence that the molecular building blocks of life first appeared on earth by this means. 3) Dr. Sadava described Bernard Kettlewell's famous experiment on "industrial melanism" ostensibly demonstrating natural selection in action. The problem is that recent research has shown that Kettlewell falsified much of his data; e.g., the photographs he took of black peppered moths resting on sooty trunks of trees were staged – that species of moth does not alight on tree trunks but likes to rest high up on trees under leaves. The problem with Kettlewell's photos was first noticed by a biologist at the University of Massachusetts named Ted Sargeant, who also repeated Kettlewell's experiment with very different results. The story of the peppered moth and the eccentric Bernard Kettlewell who studied it is clearly and entertainingly told in a book by Judith Hooper titled "Of Moths and Men."
Date published: 2016-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough but not complete In researching this subject, I used two Teaching Company courses. This course provided a good organization and structure but left out missing pieces of information. Professor Silver's "The Science of Self" provided the missing information, and having taken both courses, I was able to get all the information I was looking for. Genetics is new and wide-ranging and growing subject. With this kind of subject it takes at least two courses to get the big picture.
Date published: 2016-02-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Way beyond me. The first three lessons were great, just what I was looking for. Beyond that it was far more than I could comprehend. I would suggest it to others but tell them what I experienced so they could know ahead what to expect.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genetics Explained! A superb course masterly taught and presented. The graphics animations and video clips were outstanding. Thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a recommendation.
Date published: 2015-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A very good introductory course in genetics I want to understand DNA and genetics, but am probably not as intellectual as some of the reviewers. I'm fairly smart but kind of lazy, so I'm usually passive when I take a course here -- I hope something will stick but don't work too hard at it. The lectures were easy to watch and pretty interesting, but the surprising part was outside the course when I would come across some article or an investment offering regarding some "leading edge" company offering advanced diagnostics that sounded like magic -- I realized that I actually understood what they were talking about, and it wasn't magic, it was known science, and I could make a rational evaluation of their offering. It also overlaps in some other Great Courses I am taking, so things are really clicking. I'm glad I took the course and might view it again.
Date published: 2015-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enlightening presentation Dr. Sadava does an outstanding job of presenting the course concisely with sufficient detail. His communication style is engaging and at times humorous. He provides excellent examples that facilitate understanding. Very enjoyable course.
Date published: 2015-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This can change everything Understanding DNA and the genome is a seminal event that will affect humanity from this point forward. And this is an excellent course from which one can learn the basics and gain some insight to speculate about the future. In the past I have used my Y-chromesome DNA to verify my genealogical connections. And I have been exposed via television - as have most of us - to the power of DNA matching in solving criminal cases. But this course brings forth so much more! The double helix of DNA is explained beautifully and its methods of duplicating itself, in spite of its complication and size, is just elegant in its simplicity. And it even has error correction capabilities! But there is much more to the DNA story, as those who take this course will discover. I applaud Professor Sadava for his due diligence in preparing and presenting this material.
Date published: 2015-04-04
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Our Inheritance
1: Our Inheritance

From earliest history, humans have bred plants and animals for desirable and productive characteristics. And they have wondered how it all works. Professor Sadava gives us a brief, fascinating history of genetics and introduces us to the three major unifying ideas in biological science, ideas which form the cornerstone of this course.

31 min
Mendel and Genes
2: Mendel and Genes

Monk and scientist Gregor Mendel, working in the late 1800s, learned through pea-plant experiments that each parent's characteristics were particulate, that is, chemically independent. His meticulous research-the beginning of modern genetics-languished for nearly 40 years before its value was discovered.

30 min
Genes and Chromosomes
3: Genes and Chromosomes

Where do you find a gene? Within each living cell is a nucleus, within the nucleus is a chromosome, and on that chromosome is the gene. Beginning with the cell, the unit of biological continuity, this lecture describes the physical and chemical environment of the gene. It shows us that you don't have to be a geneticist to figure out genetics, as a group of rabbis in A.D. 500 learned.

30 min
The Search for the Gene-DNA
4: The Search for the Gene-DNA

How did research on smoking and lung cancer help scientists figure out that DNA, the genetic material, was damaged in the tumor cells? Professor Sadava tells us how scientists first determined what they were looking for and then found the circumstantial evidence that pointed to DNA.

30 min
DNA Structure and Replication
5: DNA Structure and Replication

The double helix model for DNA is one of the most recognizable scientific icons of our time. This lecture details how Watson and Crick built on the work of earlier researchers to solve the puzzle of the structure of DNA-the double helix.

31 min
DNA Expression in Proteins
6: DNA Expression in Proteins

Proteins are made up of chains of 20 amino acids ordered in a particular sequence for each protein. Humans cannot produce eight of those 20 amino acids, although we still need them for proper nutrition. Professor Sadava explains what proteins are, how they relate to DNA, and why they're significant to us.

29 min
Genes, Enzymes, and Metabolism
7: Genes, Enzymes, and Metabolism

Enzymes, which are encoded in our genes, are responsible for most chemical conversions in our bodies. An enzyme sends a signal that creates a biochemical pathway for the process of changing something we consume into something else we need or must get rid of. This lecture explains how metabolism is hard-wired into our genes.

29 min
From DNA to Protein
8: From DNA to Protein

In 2004 traces of a poison called ricin were found in a U.S. Senate mailroom. Only 1/10,000 of an ounce of ricin can be fatal. Ricin's enzymes inhibit gene expression; as a result, when ricin is introduced to animal cells, the cells die. This lecture explains how gene expression happens.

30 min
9: Genomes

The 24,000 genes that are expressed in humans represent only 2 percent of the entire genome. This lecture explains the history of the Human Genome Project, which grew out of scientists' studies on the effects of radiation on the survivors of the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

31 min
Manipulating Genes-Recombinant DNA
10: Manipulating Genes-Recombinant DNA

By studying how bacteria successfully protect themselves from an attacking virus, scientists discovered that bacteria make an enzyme that recognizes a particular DNA sequence in the virus and cuts the DNA strand at that sequence. As a result of this discovery, scientists learned to splice DNA, creating recombinant DNA, which was initially controversial and now holds vast possibilities for the futu...

31 min
Isolating Genes and DNA
11: Isolating Genes and DNA

Learn how genetics is used to understand and work toward the cure of a particular disease. After methods for analyzing DNA and chromosomes were developed rapidly in the 1980s, the scientific community tried a new approach called reverse genetics. As a result of this work, scientists isolated the gene that is missing in individuals who have muscular dystrophy.

30 min
Biotechnology-Genetic Engineering
12: Biotechnology-Genetic Engineering

Insulin that treated individuals with diabetes, whose bodies don't create insulin (or enough of it) on their own, used to come from animals. Animal insulin, however, contains a different sequence of amino acids, so some people's bodies rejected it. The method of manufacturing insulin developed at a California hospital is how all insulin used to treat diabetics is now made.

30 min
Biotechnology and the Environment
13: Biotechnology and the Environment

We can use bacteria to solve man-made problems, such as landmines, oil spills, toxic waste, and pollution. Scientists are working to genetically engineer organisms whose traits can be useful in cleaning up our world.

30 min
Manipulating DNA by PCR and Other Methods
14: Manipulating DNA by PCR and Other Methods

What's the real science behind the dinosaurs that come to life in the movie Jurassic Park? Professor Sadava explains how scientists extract DNA from fossils, and what we can learn about ancient creatures from their genes. This lecture also covers DNA sequencing methods....

30 min
DNA in Identification-Forensics
15: DNA in Identification-Forensics

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, hundreds of children were separated from their parents. When several couples were claiming one baby as their own, DNA testing enabled doctors to reunite the real parents with their baby. This kind of testing is frequently used in crime-solving today.

30 min
DNA and Evolution
16: DNA and Evolution

Charles Darwin's travels to the Galapagos Islands helped him understand that different species come from a common ancestor. This lecture explains the genetic components of Darwin's theories.

32 min
DNA and Human Evolution
17: DNA and Human Evolution

Sickle cell disease is more frequently found in African Americans than in Caucasians. After studying this incurable condition, scientists discovered that carriers of sickle cell disease were resistant to malaria, a far more life-threatening sickness. Why? In this lecture, Professor Sadava explores the role of genetic adaptation in human evolution.

31 min
Molecular Medicine-Genetic Screening
18: Molecular Medicine-Genetic Screening

How do scientists detect particular genes that cause certain diseases? Professor Sadava details chemical processes used for genetic screening, and gives several examples of successful genetic tests and results. He describes testing for the effects of genes on drug susceptibility as the next frontier in screening technology.

31 min
Molecular Medicine-The Immune System
19: Molecular Medicine-The Immune System

George Washington stemmed a smallpox epidemic by ordering his soldiers to be inoculated during an outbreak. Fifty years earlier, the slave Onesimus had advised Cotton Mather, the Puritan minister, of the practice in his homeland of rubbing dried pus from a smallpox carrier onto a cut of a healthy person. This process created antibodies that resisted the disease. Professor Sadava uses these illustr...

29 min
Molecular Medicine-Cancer
20: Molecular Medicine-Cancer

Cancer develops when cells lose control over their normally regulated reproduction. Only 10 percent of cancers are inherited, but it is a genetic disease. This lecture explains how cancer cells are created and how they can be treated.

30 min
Molecular Medicine-Gene Therapy
21: Molecular Medicine-Gene Therapy

So far gene therapy-the process of adding protein-coding DNA and a promoter sequence for its expression to an organism for medical benefit-has experienced some success in animals and small gains in humans. Professor Sadava shares cutting-edge research and experimentation.

31 min
Molecular Medicine-Cloning and Stem Cells
22: Molecular Medicine-Cloning and Stem Cells

Stem cells and cloning are both controversial topics in the news. How do they really work? What is the science behind these genetic procedures, and what are their implications for us?

31 min
Genetics and Agriculture
23: Genetics and Agriculture

Just three crops-corn, rice, and wheat-make up two-thirds of the world's food supply. Learn in this lecture how genetic experimentation on grains has resulted in significant increases in crop yields, which has meaningful ramifications for feeding the world's hungry.

30 min
Biotechnology and Agriculture
24: Biotechnology and Agriculture

Changes in our environment affect the plants we grow and thus the food we eat. Biotechnology has enabled us to manipulate plants to adapt to different conditions, such as tomatoes that grow in salty soil. This final lecture explores the opportunities and controversies surrounding genetically modified plants.

31 min
David Sadava

The DNA double helix, discovered in 1953, is one of the great icons of science in our society, rivaling the atom in its pervasiveness in our culture.


University of California, San Diego


City of Hope Medical Center, Claremont Colleges

About David Sadava

Dr. David Sadava is Adjunct Professor of Cancer Cell Biology at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA, and the Pritzker Family Foundation Professor of Biology, Emeritus, at The Claremont Colleges. Professor Sadava graduated from Carleton University as the science medalist with a B.S. with first-class honors in biology and chemistry. A Woodrow Wilson Fellow, he earned a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, San Diego. Following postdoctoral research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, he joined the faculty at Claremont, where he twice won the Huntoon Award for Superior Teaching and received numerous other faculty honors. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Colorado and at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Sadava has held numerous research grants and written more than 55 peer-reviewed scientific research papers, many with his undergraduate students as coauthors. His research concerns resistance to chemotherapy in human lung cancer, with a view to developing new, plant-based medicines to treat this disease. He is the author or coauthor of five books, including the recently published 10th edition of a leading biology textbook, Life: The Science of Biology, as well as a new biology textbook, Principles of Life.

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