P329: Shades of grey: Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it always should be done
How do we get non-science majors to actively participate in the societal conversation regarding biotechnology advances? First they need to understand the basic science concepts that underpin biotechnology. Students are introduced to some common experimental procedures in a mini-lab format. They gain experience with experimental controls, detection limits, false negatives and false positives. The process of generating and interpreting their own data deepens their understanding of the complexities of doing science. Students then write short “response papers” to articulate their views on the possible roles that certain techniques or applications should play in society. By the end of the semester, students are more aware of the many issues that are relevant to the biotechnology industry.