What do you think of when you hear the word “genetics”?  GMO foods?  Prenatal screenings?  Family genealogy? Evolution?

The science of genetics has come to play a significant role in the lives of people today, and now figures heavily in the fields of (four quadrant screen of images) agriculture and food production, in medicine, in the criminal justice system, and the environmental sciences, among other areas.  As genetic science has gained prominence in the public sphere, it has become a source of great hope as well as serious concern for many people.  Genetic research promises to improve our quality of life in many ways; it also raises a host of challenging questions about how we should pursue and utilize this newfound knowledge about the blueprints of life.

Plant Breeding, Plant Genetics, and Genetic Modification

In this video, Dr. Irwin Goldman, Professor of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Dr. Heidi Kaeppler, Professor of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison discuss plant breeding, plant genetics, and the genetic modification process.

Dr. Rick Kittles TED Talk: The biology of race in the absence of biological races

In this video, Dr. Rick Kittles discusses why using race in biomedical studies is problematic using examples from U.S. groups which transcend “racial” boundaries and bear the burden of health disparities.

Dr. Kittles is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), as well as the associate director of the UIC Cancer Center.

Kittles is well known for his research of prostate cancer and health disparities among African Americans. He has also been at the forefront of the development of ancestry-informative genetic markers, and how genetic ancestry can be used to map genes for common traits and disease. His work on tracing the genetic ancestry of African Americans has brought light to many issues, new and old, which relate to race, ancestry, identity, and group membership.