Sunday, April 20, 2014

Extra Credit DNA Blog

TAG of the Week:

This is an extra credit blog post.

1. Are there other genomic topics (i.e. diseases, treatment, screening ... etc) that you'd like to have learned?

2. Share what are some major take-home messages you've learned, and would like to share with others?

Thank you for your feedback, and I hope you will continue enjoying learning about genomics beyond this semester.

=) Prof. Chan

68 comments:

  1. 1. I think the class covers all the general basics we need to know about genomics with the amount of time given. As a future healthcare provider most likely to one day face a situation regarding genomics, I think I would want to know what the “right” decisions to make. However, the take-home message I got from this class is that health outcomes is not clear-cut when it comes down to genetics, health is determined by an inter-play of many other factors including diet, physical activity, and environmental factors. I would want to know how to interpret genetic information “correctly” and give the “best” advice to my patient. Future research in genomics may yield these answers.

    2, From this course, I learned that genomics could one day, possibly play a large role in the clinical setting by determining the likelihood of someone developing a disease and possibly curing diseases (ie gene therapy). It is important to study genomics because it is the “nature” part of the “nature vs. nurture” that determines an individual’s health outcome. With all the potential that studying genomics can unleash, it is also important to educate current and future health care providers to understand the possible roles genetics may one day have in their office, and how to make decisions for their patients regarding utilizing genomic technologies.

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  2. 1. Since I did not learn much about genomics in the first place, this class really helped me to understand about my genes and its interaction with the environment, either negatively or positively. It was also definitely an eye-opening class. However, as someone who wants to go into pediatrics medicine, I'd like to learn a greater deal about genetics and its affect children. It seems like we learned a lot about how genes can play a role in infants (screening) and adults (cancer/breast cancer), but how about in children who are still in their stages of growing. And how can this be applied and conducted at a children's hospital.

    2. Although genomics is not too familiar with patients, similar to Nancy's response, I think it will play a larger role in clinical settings in the future. It has huge potential in finding more about genes and its role in our health and possible cures for diseases.

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  3. The part of this class that I enjoyed the most was when we discussed genomic implications on specific and familiar subjects. For example, the classes on Breast Cancer and the effects of genomics were interesting to me. I think that a lot of people know or are aware of breast cancer and I think that applying something a little more unfamiliar (such as genomics) to something familiar (such as breast cancer) made it more interesting. Therefore, I think that I would have rather seen the effects and implications of genomics on more familiar things such as different diseases.

    One of the major things that I've learned from this class is that not only our lifestyle but also just the fact that we are living at this specific time, has an impact on our genes. The idea of epigenetics will always stay with me. I think it is important for people to know that as much as we can control our lives and our health, there are still some things that are out of our control and will inevitably be passed down through generations.

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  4. 1. As some of my peers have already said, I really feel like this class gave an awesome introduction to genomics. As breast cancer is in my family, I really appreciated that I was able to learn this material in class, rather than having to find it out on my own.
    2. The most important thing that I learned from this class is how important it is for you to be your own self-advocate for your health, specifically in terms of your genes. This has helped me be able to start conversations with friends, family, and health professionals about the relationship between health and genes, and how it is important to be informed.

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  5. I enjoyed all the topics we learned in class and can’t think of any additional topics. Although, I agree with Danielle on learning more about the effects of genomics on common diseases.
    Some take home messages I’ve learned is the important role of epigenetics and how your lifestyle can affect your children and how much genetic associations there are for many things in our life (obesity, pair bonding, diet).

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  6. Haniya Saleem SyedaApril 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    1. I would’ve liked to learn more about genetically modified foods and the effect it has on our bodies and genes. We touched a bit on it today but I think it’d be a helpful topic to learn because it has a direct impact on the everyday lives of Americans and, as many of us are pursuing a future in public health, it could potentially play a bigger role in our field and in our future careers. Organic foods have also come to the forefront of our food market and American diet so I think it’s an important topic to explore.
    2. I’ve learned that there are multiple factors that impact our health and well-being other than our genes, but that these factors also impact our genes and the genes of our future children. Often people feel tied down by their genes and feel their future health is already determined for them. As someone who has a family history of many diseases, I felt the same way. But I’ve learned that my genes aren’t a sentence to poor health. My environment, my lifestyle, and my habits are different than my parents and their parents before them. I could have different health outcomes if I take control over the many factors than impact your genes.

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  7. 1.
    I think we covered a pretty broad array of topics in class. This made class a lot more interesting, as we were able to learn something new every day. That being said, I would've liked to learn more about GMOs. We covered them a little bit in class today, but having a whole class about GMOs would've been very interesting. I also would've liked to learn some other behavioral things associated with our genome. An example of this is addiction. Addiction is a tricky subject, but from what I understand, it is heavily influenced by our genes. I would have been curious to know if there are any very specific genes that are linked to disease, like BRCA 1/2 for Breast Cancer. Overall I'm satisfied with the broad array of topics we covered in class, and I feel like I've learned a lot.

    2.
    There were two things that really stood out to me in this course. The first was the topic of epigenetics. The take-home message of epigenetics to me was that there are so many influences on our genes. While I had a grasp of that before I came into this class, I didn't realize how important epigenetics is. The things we do, the things we eat, and the things we experience can all impact the regulation of our genes. The most shocking part about this is that our ancestors' experiences can affect us, too. The second take-home message from this course ties into this. We discussed multiple times that our genes are not the end-all be-all of how our lives are going to go. Having certain genes may not guarantee that you develop a certain condition or act in a certain way, just as not having a gene doesn't necessarily mean that you're in the clear. These two points demonstrate how important the outside, environmental factors are on how our bodies work.

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  8. I think this class gives a great introduction to genomics, and covers a wide range of genomic topics. However, as a biochem student I would have liked to go into further detail about the mechanisms involved in genetics, epigenetics, and gene therapy. I know this genomics and public health class, not a biology class, but I think it would help students understand these topics better, especially epigenetics.

    I learned a lot about genomics in this class, from subjects I already knew a lot about like inheritance, to new subjects I had never heard about until this class like "gene doping." The subject that had the biggest impact on me was epigentics. I understood that our genes interacted with our environment to determine how they are expressed, but I had no idea that our parents, and even grandparents environments, lifestyles, and behaviors affected our genes. This will make me think about how my lifestyle will affect my children, and grandchildren. Another important take home message I learned is that my genetic info is only protected from employment, and health insurance discrimination, not from life insurance, loans, or any other form of discrimination.

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  9. 1. The other topic I'd love to learn more about are genetic diseases that manifest later in adulthood, like Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's. I know HD can be identified with a genetic test, and that would be an interesting topic of discussion--with regards to the ethics of testing early, even though the prognosis is not good. I feel like we spent a lot of time talking about more newborn diseases, which is relevant, but genetic testing is also available for HD.

    2. One major take home that I've learned from this class is that genetic testing is available, and will only become more widely available, therefore it is our job as future clinicians or public health professionals to be prepared. We need to be able to accurately translate test results and articles so the public can understand what we are saying. So much of what the media says can get mixed up--as we've seen with Angelina Jolie. I've really learned the importance of genomics in society.

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  10. I really enjoyed this class this year. I think I learned a lot, and took a new spin on many concepts that I had learned about in other classes.

    1. I think another topic that would be interesting to explore deeper would be genetically modified foods. I would like to see other studies on them, because I have taken an interest in learning about GMOs and have found very few good studies about it. This is especially pertinent because GMOs are becoming more widespread, and is a more common part of our supermarkets. Also, possibly comparing GMOs to organic foods, and possible health risks or benefits.

    2. One of the main things that I learned was about epigenetics. I didn’t know that outside factors could actually have an effect on gene expression. Learning about how a mother’s diet and behavior and that effect on the fetus was also fascinating; we ended up doing our PSA based on this. Moreover, it was interesting to see how behaviors can have negative effects on future generations

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  11. 1. I would have really liked to learn more about genetic diseases with a later onset and even those that many people are born with like Huntington's and muscular dystrophy. These types of diseases always played a major role in my other classes, often being used as case studies. Learning about them from a genomic perspective and examining how different genes interact to cause these diseases or what mutations might cause them would be really interesting.

    2. The message that most resonated with me was how our environment can influence our own genetic expression. Things like smoking and drinking can have profound affects on our genome. The other thing I found fascinating was the study about famine and transgenerational inheritance. It's amazing that the decisions we make in regards to lifestyle can somehow have an effect on future generations.

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  12. 1. There are no other genomic topics that I would have liked to cover in class. However, I do wish we had spent more time on certain subjects such as the impact of genes on athletic ability, the potential consequences of consuming GMOs as well as the impact of genetic variation in the role of infectious disease. Especially in regards to infectious disease, I think it would have been helpful if we had talked more about sickle cell and other mutations (such as that impacting the functionality of CD4 Receptors) that impact the occurrence of infection. I only say this because I had never really thought about the role of genetic predispositions in the acquisition of disease and found it extremely interesting to learn about this.

    2. One major take home message that I’ve learned in this class is that not everything in our genome is always expressed. Rather, epigenetic mechanisms play a huge role in dictating whether or not a gene is expressed. I think these mechanisms are important to be aware of, and prior to this class I would have never thought that external factors could influence my genome.

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  13. 1. I was interested in learning the genetics behind infectious and non-infectious diseases. This might go too far into biology than it should, so I can understand how we briefly glossed over diseases. I was also interested on learning about the impact of genes to someone's life. I was hoping to learn more about it, earlier ahead of this semester, but I was still able to learn about it, so I have no complaints.

    2. One major take home message is that genetics play a part in assessing a person, but a person's genes go only so far. A person is more than just their genes; they also have their habits, conscious decisions, and lifestyle. A person can have genes for this or that, but this mostly depends on if the genes are expressed or not, from the environment triggering a genetic response. There are too many factors that are uncontrollable, but there are also many factors are controllable to prevent the provoking of a gene expression.

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  14. I definitely think this class gives a good broad basis of the vast areas of genomics. I found the readings on obesity and nutrigenomics to be particularly interesting. I wish we had spent some time discussing genetics associated with alcoholism and genes associated with alzheimers and dementia. Those topics would have been very interesting to me!
    I think the take away message from this class for me is the discussion of eli-genetic factors and how these modifications to DNA can affect generations down the road. I addition, I took away a lot about the life-course perspective - I believe this is an important approach for many conditions.

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  15. 1- This class did a great job covering the general topics of genomics, but I personally would’ve liked to learn more about GMO’s and nutrigenomics. I wanted to learn more about the effects of our diet on our genome as there are external factors that affect the genome that we have no power over, however; the diet is something we can control.
    2- The major take home message that stuck with me is that just because you have a genetic predisposition to a disease, doesn’t mean you WILL develop it, and inversely, just because you don’t have a genetic predisposition to a disease, doesn’t mean you WON’T develop it. Also learning to analyze websites for validity (Warrior bloodline/ GMO/ Greenpeace, etc) was a good component that I find will be a very useful skill. Most people hear news or see news but don’t try to do more research on their own, therefore obtaining skewed information.

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  16. 1. Are there other genomic topics (i.e. diseases, treatment, screening ... etc) that you'd like to have learned?
    I would have really liked to look further into behavioral genomics. The last documentary we watched I found really interesting and would definitely want to look further into. As other students have said as well, GMOs and food genomics would be interesting--there's been a lot of research coming out about how bacterial flora and genetic composition actually affects metabolism. There's so many interesting ways to approach the topic!

    2. Share what are some major take-home messages you've learned, and would like to share with others?
    There's a lot of misinformation about genetics and health. I think the major thing I learned was probably that your genes are simply another factor in your overall health, and how those genes work within an environment is how a health outcome happens. Also, we have very little understanding of how many of our genes are actually expressed--there is a lot of room in any study for interpretation, with the exception of a few genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.

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  17. As a career, I want to go into occupational therapy, so I would be interested in learning the genomics and perhaps screening perimeters behind diseases that paralyze people, such as cerebral palsy, and how individuals might benefit from early treatment. I enjoyed the section on newborn screening since pediatrics is also a passion of mine. It would perhaps be interesting to have this section expanded upon, and learn about the genomics of other pediatric conditions, as one of my classmates mentioned. I understand that it might be difficult to explore the genomics background of all these complex disorders, because of the many factors that lead to having these disorders.

    As one of my classmates already mentioned, what I would definitely share with others after taking genomics class would be the misinformation about genomics/the role of genes on health. Having a gene for a disorder does not mean you will get a disorder definitively, and not having a gene for a disorder does not mean you are not at risk. I think this is really important, because people and the media tend to sensationalize and overestimate the importance of genes when it comes to disorder and behavior. For example, "the cheating gene" and even BRCA1/2. I think it is important for the general public to begin to understand that genes are important and can play a role but that they are not the be all end all, and interact with many other different factors to contribute to disease and behavior.

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  18. 1. If given more time for this class, I really wish we could have covered a few more genetic diseases, especially those that occur later in life. We discussed many diseases an illnesses that may be linked to the genome, but I wish we had more time to learn about genetic diseases that are directly linked to heredity.

    2. I feel the biggest message that I got from this class is that the genome is responsible for so much more than we originally thought. The associations between a person's genes and their lifestyles are huge in number. We can use DNA to discover so much about not just an individual person, but also their parents, grandparents, and ancestors. But, as we learned in class, the scope of genomics does not end there. The study of genomics has huge potential and there is still so much to learn.
    This class really impressed upon me the importance of having a basic understanding of genetics in today's world. With media distortion, it can be easy to become deceived in what is fact and what is a perceived association, especially with genetic studies. With a basic understanding of genetics, genomics, and how the media portrays research, I now feel better prepared to evaluate articles and studies that are reported on the news.

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  19. 1. I liked how the class covered all the basics of genetic diseases, however I agree with many others that commented on this in that I would have liked to learn about specific diseases. I am personally interested in food links to genetic diseases. With all this new research coming out about the foods you eat and the surge in obesity rates among Americans, I think this would be a really interesting topic to cover more in depth.
    2. I think the overall take home message that I got from this course was that genetics is a complicated branch of science that can be impacted by many different factors. I think this class gave me a better understanding of the importance of genetic screenings, especially for breast cancer. People should know that while you might carry a specific gene for a genetic disorder, that does not mean you are 100 percent going to get it. However, knowing you do carry a specific gene can help one take preventative strategies early. I also would share how the way the media portrays research might not always be the most accurate or comprehensible to the general public. Over, while I feel I still have much to learn about the human genome and the factors that effect it, I now posses a basic understanding that I will be able to carry into my future studies of public health.

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  20. 1. I think learning more about other types of cancers and how genetics affects them would have been very intriguing. I know there are a few cancers that also have genetic components, but I really don’t know which types and which don’t really have any genetic component. Instead of spending as much time on breast cancer, learning about other types would have been interesting. In addition, I think that learning more about the Human Genome project and the process of how that began and a little history about it would have also been a good way to start the class, and would be a great way to introduce us to genetics and understanding genes.

    2.
    I think the biggest take home message that I received from this class was the differences and interactions between epigenetics, our genes, and our environment. I never really knew that epigenetics existed, and certainly didn't understand how our environment can affect how “open” or “closed” our genes are, and affect protein expression as much as they do. I enjoyed learning about all the different types of decisions that can affect epigenetics, such as diet, exposures, exercise, etc.

    I also really enjoyed looking at genetics from the ethical and legal standpoints. I think that it added an entire different perspective to genomics that allowed me to think critically about genomics in all types of situations. Because people genes are so personal, I think it is essential to prepare people to understand these implications before they begin in the field.

    Lastly, I really enjoyed learning about how the field of genomics can be used for advances in medicine through gene therapy. It was really interesting to learn about the different types of mutations that affect people and create diseases. I’m excited to hear about how in the future gene therapy is used for different conditions and diseases.

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  21. 1. I would have liked to have learned more about cancer- specifically the new telomeric research that has been conducted in the past few years and potential gene-environment interactions that are thought to cause cancer today. I would also have liked to learn more about specific genes with speculated functions that have already been sequenced- such as the obesity gene and the pair-bonding gene, particularly regarding mental health. Lastly, I would have liked to delve deeper into the genetic aspects of gene therapy.

    2. Every time I visit my parents I share with them something exciting that I have learned from this class. Certain take-home topics that stood out to me were the ghost in your gene concepts where a person's gene's today reflect epigenetic influences from your ancestors' environments. I also loved learning about the obesity gene and the discussions that ensued on the blog. I am aware now more than ever that we must update our legislature to protect people as knowledge in genetics grows. We must also work to educate the public and avoid dangerous, widespread misconception that can inhibit research or medical advances. Overall, I have learned that a person's genetics and their environment are intrinsically intertwined and, as a result, nothing is ever as it seems. To truly understand genomic-related public health issues we must take an all-encompassing approach and look at complex situations from multiple viewpoints.

    Professor Chan: As an aside, can you post the website link regarding career opportunities in genomics that you mentioned to me about a few weeks back?

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  22. 1. I agree with Lauren's comment that I would have liked to learn more about other types of cancers besides breast cancer, because I have a very large family and many of them are smokers. Also, my grandfather died of lung cancer, and actually was one of the few in my family that was not a smoker, which makes me wonder how this happened: was it secondhand smoke and environmental factors? was it hereditary? or could it just get chocked up as bad luck? Genetics/genomics regarding the lungs and other things related to this such as asthma, lung cancer, perhaps breathing rate and/or things like oxygen levels all are intriguing to me and I wonder if there is a genetic component or at least some research being conducted surrounding these matters.

    2. A major take-home message for me is that genetics is a quickly growing field, which to me means that it has many obstacles it still has to overcome. I see many people who will be saved of dangerous diseases and conditions as a result of genetic testing, but also I see future lawsuits looming in the distance for people because of the vulnerability of genetic information. I definitely now understand that the environment not only plays a huge role on our health and our bodies, but also can impact our genetic makeup and perhaps make changes to our own genetic code that may have adverse implications we are not expecting. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle ensures that you are healthy now, but also ensures that you will be able to avoid possible mutations to your genetic makeup as a result of a fit or unfit lifestyle and environmental factors.

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  23. 1. I agree with a lot of the comments written so far that topics like lung cancer, Huntington's disease and other genetic disease would be interesting to learn about. But I would have definitely liked to spend more time learning about the link between genetics and athletics. I thought this was really interesting and spending a bit more time to dig deeper into this topic would have been really interesting, like the idea of gene doping. I would have also liked to learn about the genetic role in addiction. I'm not sure how much research has been done in this area but I am sure I have read somewhere that you can be more prone to addictions with certain genes. It would be interesting to explore this more and see if genetics is important with addiction or not.

    2. A major take home message has definitely been about the epigenetic factors that our genes. I never knew that the environment could affect genetics and I don't think I would have believed it if someone asked me that at the start of class. So I will now be more conscious about what I am doing in my life knowing I could pass things on. I am also more conscious about the role of my genome and genes in my life. I would never have considered a genetic test or thought about my genes but after this class I feel I am more inclined to learn more about my genetic history and about my own genome after seeing the influence of genetics in diseases like breast cancer. Would I take a genetic test? I'm still not sure but I am more interested in my genes than I ever have been.

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  24. I enjoyed the topics we discussed this semester and feel that they represented the field of genomics very well. We learned about the human genome, including the mitochondrial genome, the epigenome,the chemical changes in DNA and histones that regulate gene expression, and the metagenome, reflecting the microbes that contribute to health and disease. I think I would have liked to discuss the role of bioinformatics in genomic research a bit more. I would like to get into the field of bioinformatics and would have enjoyed hearing about the computational and statistical techniques that go into analyzing DNA and genes. This might be boring to some students, but it also might interest some!

    What resonated most with me this semester is how in control of your health you can be, if you are knowledgeable about your genes and willing to live the appropriate lifestyle. The effects of making healthy and smart choices regarding your genes and health can be passed on to benefit future generations. I too will take what I've learned in this class and try to live more consciously to take care of myself and my genes.

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  25. There were several topics this semester that I found quite interesting. Each week there was something new that I was surprised to learn.
    Aside from the introductory topics, I particularly enjoyed learning about genomics' role in breast cancer and HIV. It was exciting to learn about the directions that genomic research is taking. While right now we mostly have preliminary data only, it is clear that, as the quantity and the quality of the genomic research increases, we are going to make some very significant and beneficial discoveries. The epigenetic segment was also very intriguing - I was surprised to learn about all the different ways that our lifestyles can affect gene expression. The greatest take home message from this semester is that we do have the power to affect our genes - either positively or negatively. They are not set in stone. The choices we make affect our own genes and our future children's genes.

    As for other topics to cover, I've always been interested in neurological diseases. It would have been interesting to learn about genomics role in Alzheimer's disease, parkinson's disease, or huntington's disease. Additionally, I also enjoy learning more about mental illnesses, such as depression and schizophrenia. It would have been very interesting to learn what role genomics has in these illnesses and what direction the genomic research on these topics is taking in terms of treatment, if any.

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  26. 1. I think learning more about Alzheimer's would be interesting because the prevalence has been increasing in recent years because of the increasing aging population. As someone else mentioned genetic predisposition to smoking or alcohol addiction could be an interesting topic as well.

    2. I think I've considered the ethical issues behind genetic research more than I ever have and I know for the future anytime I hear of significant genetic research results I'll always think what are the ethical, legal and social issues behind this? I've heard of genetic testing before this class, but genetic treatment was something I had not considered before. I'm intrigued to see how genetic treatment will develop in the years to come. I'll also be the first to say I really enjoyed the "Dogs Decoded" video. Although it was fun, I thought the implications of studying dog genetics for humans could be very significant.

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  27. I really enjoyed the variety of topics that we learned about in Genomics this semester. I am really interested in nutrition, and would have like to have learned more on this subject. I found the subject of how nutrition affects the microbiome very interesting, and also wish we could have learned more about genetically modified foods. The topic of genetically modified food is very controversial, and I would have loved to learn more about the different view points and research on both sides of the controversy. I also really enjoyed the "Dogs Decoded" documentary!!
    There are many take home messages that I have learned from this course. The first is that while you cannot change the genes that you have, it is possible to influence your own epigenetic factors through your lifestyle, environment, and exposures. Even if you have a mutation which increases your risk for a certain disease, it is possible to decrease your risk through your behavior. Also, I have learned about the lack of knowledge in the general public about genetics and genomics. More outreach work needs to be done to educate people about this important topic.

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  28. I enjoyed this class and learning about all the different topics that genomics can interact with. Another topic that is interesting to me is chronic diseases such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I know that currently research is being done to learn more about them. It would be interesting to learn if there are genetic factors involved in chronic diseases such as these because I know that doctors have suggested that they are genetic.

    Over this semester I have learned a lot about diseases in a different way than I have in other classes. It was eye opening to see how much genomics affects everyone and I think a take home message from this class is to be aware of how different epigenetic factors affect your life and work to modify the ones that you can (environment, lifestyle, fitness, etc). Most people I know have never heard of genomics so I also think that after taking this class, students should spread the word and educate others on the effects that genetics and epigenetics can have on an individual so people are more aware.

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  29. I think that our class has covered a wide variety of topics ranging from the very basics of how genes may effect individuals to some very heated topics that have an impact on our lives. One topic i wish we had covered more in depth was the topic of GMO's and the dangerous direction we are heading in regards to food. I think it is relevant to everyones life because as healthy as we try to be in eating fruits and veggies, there are still factors that may shun us away from doing so. Healthy eating is not as easy as it looks, between the prices and convenience, it can be a difficult task. Farmers and Companies are using genetically modified techniques to preserve these fruits and vegetables and also to keep pesticides away from these foods. If the pesticides are killing the bugs, what types of effects are these having on the human population? The answer? Studies are showing that we are more prone to sickness, diseases, etc. Something needs to be done about the GMO'S, because i sure do not want to be eating any more of them.

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  30. This semester I learned about a variety of different topics in genomics in our class. The most interesting topic that I found we discussed was breast cancer and the interaction between genetic and environmental factors associated with that disease. Knowing how much of an impact a person’s family history has on the development of a specific disease along with environmental factors that they encounter on an everyday basis was really remarkable. It would have been interesting to learn more about different types of cancers and how genetics and the environment play a role with those diseases as well.

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  31. I couldn't agree with Nancy more. The scope of this class was excellent for the amount of time we had to delve into the vast variety of genomics topics. As a healthcare provider you should always want and seek out the knowledge and tools to be able to make the right decision. This class has taught this role very well. Genomics will no doubt be a huge part of how we deliver healthcare and play a major role in the proactive treatment of public health issues we face as a global community. The moral challenges and ethical dilemmas we will face are so many they cannot be numbered, however through factual and logical accounts/reasoning we can strive to find compromise. Genetic testing alone is a medium for many ethical issues as well as public health administration issues. How will we teach the medical professionals the information? Who will be the steward of those who elect to have genetic tests? Who will regulate to ensure fairness and equality? What role will the insurers play? These are just a few of the many questions to be answered as far as legislation comes into play. The class also included a fair interpretation of confidentiality and how we must protect patient rights. As a future healthcare provider I know this class has challenged me in ways that will be rememberable and I can now keep the valuable information I have learned for decision making later.

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  32. 1) I think we covered a good variety of topics that are relevant to the health care field currently. However, I just wanted to express how much I enjoyed the breast cancer segment of the class because it was very interesting and informative. I also liked watching the movie and seeing how people process genetic tests. The segment on breast cancer tied in genetic information as well as emotional responses and the pros and cons of genetic testing.

    2) The major message I took from this class is that genetics play a role in our health outcomes but it doesn't determine everything. Other factors also influence our health outcomes, such as our lifestyles and our environments. There is still a part of our health that we can control and we should take advantage of that.

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  33. Overall, I feel like I learned a great deal about genomics, which - prior to this class - was a field I had only seen briefly in medical journals and didn't exactly understand. I feel like we discussed the basics and surveyed the field pretty well, but I would have liked to discuss GMO's more! Echoing some of my classmates, I have always had an interest in genetically modified plants and how they've impacted our industry, and it would have been fantastic to see some readings that reflected that! Additionally, I'm curious about the genetic link between exercise and genetics - we touched upon it briefly, and maybe this doesn't exist yet, but it'd be interesting to see if certain people were genetically inclined towards certain types of exercise! - and would like to see more of that in the future.

    The main messages from this class, for me, were that no matter how our ancestors behaved, we can still make choices that can change epigenetic factors for a healthier lifestyle. Healthcare discusses genomics, but as it's a growing field, there is a lot of miscommunication, and it's important for us future healthcare providers to have enough knowledge and understanding to dole out proper information to our future patients. Yet I also had absolutely no idea that our ancestors' lifestyles affected us so greatly. It seems obvious, especially considering how they pass down their genetic codes for hair color, eye color, etc., but I was stunned to realize that my grandparents' diets affect my genes some seventy years later. Yet I recognize that I can alter my genes, even with the gifts they gave me, and take control over my future by living the healthiest lifestyle that I can.

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  34. Alexander de GrootApril 25, 2014 at 12:54 AM

    1) I think the class did a good job of covering a wide range of topics that have to do with genomics. I can confidently say that I have a good general understanding of genomics' role in various areas of health care. However, as some other students have mentioned, I wish we spent more time learning about GMOs and their interaction with our microbiome. I think GMOs are such a huge issue today in the United States, and it would have been interesting to learn more about how genetically modified food could potentially change the biology of our own bodies.

    2) One of biggest take-home messages I learned from this class is that genomics plays a significant and controversial role in almost every aspect of the future health care system. Genomics is being used to find ways to identify diseases and cancers quickly and ultimately come up with treatment regimens that are revolutionary for today's standards. The potential for genomics in health care is great, but at the same time there are several ethical, legal, and social issues that need to be taken into consideration. Who has access to all this genetic information? What should be people do with all this information? How do we make sure people understand this information? These questions will require experts from fields traditionally outside of health care, such as lawyers and educators, and will ultimately make the health care industry more interdisciplinary that it has ever been before.

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  35. 1) I actually would have liked to learn about GMO's a little more. It was great we had a class about it but I would have liked to have learned more or at least the controversy of them. I feel like GMO's are a huge public health issue that no one knows about or understands. There is a misconception on what GMO's are and where people find them. Also go over the pros and cons. Even though there is an unknown surrounding how GMO's might affect your health, they can be beneficial when it comes to developing drought resistant crops for hot, arid developing countries. It going to be hotter topic as the natural/organic movement is going on. Food is going to be a major health and political issue in the next decade due to rising costs, climate change, chronic diseases, the growing population, etc. Its a subject that can no longer be taken for granted.

    2) I feel like One of the main messages I have taken away from this class is about how complex genes and how they are expressed. I think many times we forget how important environment is when taking into account how a gene is expressed. Epigenetics clearly play a much bigger role in how genes are expressed, especially when you take in the life course perspective. It seems incredible that the prevalence of diabetes could be linked to a famine a few generations back. It almost makes you wonder, "What am I doing now that might harm my future kids or grandchildren?". It also makes you wonder if there is anything you can do or because it happened generations ago, nothing can be done.

    I think this class I think also opened by eyes to the future of genetics. I never realized how sequencing the human genome would open up a new branch of health as well as privacy issues. It is concerning when there were sites like 23andME up there that could be giving false medical advice based on your genes. I think it is raising new issues about health literacy and comprehension. Could sequencing your genes for diseases/conditions actually be more damaging than helpful due to the unintended psychological distress? It is something that will unfold in the next year or so when people start to decide if this kind of information is necessary to know.

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  36. Coming into this class, I didn't know a lot about Genomics. I think that this class was a great introduction to the topic! I can't think of any topics that I would have liked to explore. I'm glad that I took this class because it opened my eyes up to a lot of things that I wouldn't have known otherwise. I think that I can safely say that I now have a good understanding of Genomics, and how it plays a role in the different aspects of health care. The part of the semester that we spent on Genetic Testing was definitely my favorite! I really enjoyed watching the movie and seeing how different people go about the process.

    For me, the main message of this class was that our genetics do not "define" who we are. Technically, they do, however we all have choices to make that have implications on our lifestyle. Additionally, there are things in the environment (epigenetic factors) that can influence whether or not certain genes are expressed! Although it is crazy to see how something your ancestors may have done can affect the way your genes are expressed, you still have a chance to change them (in certain areas). I think that this class taught us that yes, it is important to be informed and knowledgeable about your genes, but it is also important to be self conscious about your lifestyle decisions and how they can also affect your genes.

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  37. 1) I would have liked to learn a bit more about the genomics of other cancers like childhood cancers, i.e. Ewings sarcoma. I believe that Ewings sarcoma is not genetically heritable, but I want to understand why this disease happens in adolescence and young adulthood, rather than any other period of life.
    2) I had no idea what genomics was when I first started this class, but I’ve learned a lot of interesting things, particularly about epigenetics. When we watched “The ghost in your genes.” I was perplexed by the idea that things that happen voluntarily or involuntarily in your life can affect future generations. I also enjoyed learning about genetic testing and how it can be beneficial, but there are a lot of social repercussions that can occur from it, such as family tension, fear, anxiety, etc. Watching the film “In the family,” I could see how much anxiety there was when Joanne found out she had the mutation. It turned her entire world upside down. But, with that knowledge, she will be more prepared for her future and what she will have to face. Therefore, in my opinion, genetic testing is more beneficial, than harmful.

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  38. 1) While we covered many topics, all of which I appreciated and felt were necessary to the course, one area that may have been interesting to focus on is addiction. In one article I found, it discussed epigenetic factors and the "turning on/off" of genes during addiction. It also says "With genomic tools, it will be possible to identify patterns of altered gene expression that are associated with particular features of the addicted state, such as tolerance, sensitization, dependence, craving and relapse," which is really quite fascinating to think about.
    link to article:http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v409/n6822/full/409834a0.html

    2) Coming into this class, I hadn't even heard of genomics and now I realize what a major role it plays now and will continue to play in the future. It was interesting to learn that our genes are not set in stone, that they can be turned on or off and changed due to epigenetic factors, such as our environment. While I've always known our environment plays a roll, I didn't necessarily know how, but now I understand through specific examples, such as the "Ghost In Your Genes". While we cannot change our genes as of currently, we can change our environment and our exposures and reduce risk of disease through the way we choose to live our lives and stay in check with our bodies (as Joanne did once she learned of her mutation).

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  40. Before taking this class I had no idea what to expect but now it is much more clear. A few of my highlights of this course have to be the two films we watched "In the Family" and her journey with the gene mutation BRCA1 and 2, and the "Dog Decoded" film and how dogs have evolved over time. I am a visual learner so watching documentaries are very helpful for me and these films have discussed many genomic topics but also we get to see it happen in real world situations not just in articles and scientific journals. With the Dog Decoded film I really like how they showed the difference between nature and nurture and how much this has affected the results of dogs evolving over time since having 99.8% same DNA as wolves. When they did the study that picked the least aggressive foxes away from the aggressive ones and consistently did this over and over, you see not only a change in the foxes behaviors but also their phenotypes and physical looks, they actually begin to look more like dogs. So these are just some interesting things I really enjoyed learning about in Genomics. Also the PSA has been a lot of fun creating and researching on many different genes that affect different behaviors. One thing I've learned that is very important I believe is the fact that no matter our genetics, the environment also has a huge factor on our behaviors and it is a combination of the two that really affect our growth.

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  41. This was a great course in terms of teaching me the basics of genomics. I really enjoyed the BRCA gene section and how it pertained to breast cancer development. If I wish I learned anything else in this course, it would be more sections such as the BRCA gene one. Learning how other genes in the genome impact health conditions is a very interesting topic and very informative at that. Other than that, the course was a great basic overview of genomics.

    The take home message that really resonated with me from this course is that our genes are not set in stone. Prior to this course, I strongly held the belief that everyone is born with a particular genetic code, and that code is permanent in nature; however, over the span of this course, I learned that the environment, our nutrition, and our lifestyle behaviors can really affect the expression of our genes. Likewise, I learned how these actions of ours can effectively alter our genes, and that these altered gene expressions can be passed down as seen in the potato famines of Ireland and other examples. I have already been spreading this message so people become more aware of the importance of their life choices, and I will continue to dive deeper into this knowledge arena.

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  42. 1. Coming into this class I had little to no knowledge of genomics and I was able to learn a lot from this class. One thing I wish we learn more was some of the unique genetic disorders within humans. We lightly touched on some but I wish I was able to find out more. I will probably look it up on my own time because things like that really intrigues me. Another thing I wish we covered more was how genetics affects our mind and the way we think. I always find psychology facinating so maybe I thought there are certain genes that affect the way we analyze,think, and process.

    2. The one major take home message is that genetics play a huge part of who we are but it does not define it completely. We may have genes for a certain disease but it does not mean we are guaranteed to get it 100%. In the end, there are still certain aspects that is up to the genetics of our body but also by many other factors such as the environment, a persons life style and etc. Genomics is still such a new field that there are vast amount of things unanswered. I can't wait to see what the future holds for genomics.

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  43. 1. The class started out with basic things such as CUTAG. Then, Prof. Chan's integrated approach of learning materials that are more related to Public Health caught my attention. Despite all the useful materials I have learned from this class, I wish I could have learned more on genetic engineering and the process would have been great. My interests are centered around human bioengineering. I would have liked to hear more on the process of bioengineering.

    2. We are 99.9% identical yet we are all so different, It's amazing how similar we are despite the appearances. Also, the genes play more roles than just genetics. We have learned that it plays a significant role in deciding whether one's diabetic or not. It's just purely fascinating that such disabilities could be caused since birth even without us realizing. I would just love to get more knowledge on genes and its associations to other disabilities that we may not know yet.

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  44. 1. After taking this class on genomics, I realized that I would like to learn much more about topics of addiction and abuse compared to the human genome and our environment. How do our genes affect our predispositions to addiction or drug abuse? Also, does our environment also affect our predisposition or our actions? I would like to delve into this topic even more. It seems very interesting to me
    2. I think it is amazing that the human genome is extremely identical, yet humans have millions and millions of differences in outcome due to their genes, genetic variation, environment, and lifestyle choices. One take home message that truly awed and inspired me is how these seemingly minute differences in one another can change the course of our lives, and the lives of generations to come.

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    1. I agree with Chloe, and would like to have learned about addiction and abuse. A few weeks ago a friend of mine passed away from the disease of addiction. I would like to know more about how genomics plays a role in why some people fall prey to such a terrible disease. Although it is a sensitive subject for some, especially me I think it deserves a lot of attention. I think college students would benefit from learning about it.

      One major thing I have taken home from this class is that our genome is very identical, yet extremely diverse at the same time. I think this can be a hard concept to grasp at first, but it is intriguing nonetheless.

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  45. 1.
    I think it would have been so interesting to learn about the genomics of addiction of alcohol and drugs. There may be some people who would be more susceptible to addiction based on their genes (kind of like the "cheating gene" ). Im not sure if that exists but it would be so interesting to see what else our genes tell us. Overall though i really enjoyed all the topics that we discussed (the dog movie especially was very cute!).

    2.
    I think the biggest take home message that I got from this class was the relationship between our genes/genomics, epigenetics and our environment/lifestyle. And also the importance of diet and exercise. I also really enjoyed when the graduate students came and spoke about their field and how genomics works in the medical field. I was also really interested in genomics being used for medical advances. My PSA is about HIV/AIDS and it was so interesting in seeing how gene therapy can be used to treat and possibly cure diseases.I really really enjoyed this class and all the information I have learned. I also have been taking a lot of the information i have learned in this class to other classes and I think that is really significant.

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  46. 1. Although potentially a controversial subject, I think it would have been interesting to discuss sexual orientation in this class. There has obviously been a lot of debate about nature vs. nurture determining one's sexual orientation and a lot of studies have been done about how big of a role our genes play.

    2. The biggest take-home message I learned from this class is that while genes are an important determinant of our health there are many other factors that come into play that we must be aware of. It's important to look at health from a very broad perspective in order to pinpoint where changes should be made.

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  47. I think the class covered a lot of different topics. While some were noninfectious diseases, I think studying more noninfectious diseases would be interesting as it is a huge part of today's world. I also think looking deeper in the racial/ethnic diseases could really be interesting.

    The biggest take home message I learned is that what I do in my life now will/can have an impact on my children and their children and future children down the line. It really makes me reconsider how I live my life and how I want to live my life.

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  48. Jessica ThermitusApril 25, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    1. We covered so much this semester! Considering genomics through a public health perspective is something all students studying health should look into. It is a very necessary yet widely misunderstood area of health. Gene therapy and genetic data analysis have a scary connotation to the general public but in the world of medicine and health it is one of the most crucial areas of concentration. Although we did cover a vast majority of topics, as Reena stated looking in ethnic gene rarities is something that would be awesome. Although genomic studies may find that gathering participants of minority groups to participate would be a bit difficult. It would also be especially interesting to have maybe an entire section on how genomics& synthetic bioengineering can impact public health.

    2. Considering everything that I have new knowledge about, the biggest take home message that really resonated with me is that genes don't determine our destiny. Being born with certain genes does not mean that I am in the clear nor does it mean that my life is doomed. I know now that my human genome, my microgenome, and epigenetic factors ALL have an impact.

    Thanks so much for a great semester!

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  49. 1. I would definitely have liked to learn about diseases, especially infectious, a little bit more. Someone else said different types of cancers would have been a good topic, and I agree. I also think that having discussions about the topics that the class found extremely interesting or controversial would have been great.

    2. I will definitely share that our lifestyle and choices may have an impact on our later generations, so it's important to keep healthy. The relationships between our genome and things like nutrition, environment, and exercise was important for me to learn and understand. I think it's also important that just having a gene doesn't automatically mean you're going to be impacted.

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  50. 1. I would have loved to learn more about the use of genomics in treatment of diseases. We very briefly discussed how gene therapy can be used as treatment and the influence of pharmacogenetics, but I would have liked to go more in depth in these topics. It seems like this could be a very big field on the rise and would be interested in learning more about these topics and learning about other types of treatments that can come out of studying genomics.
    2. The major take how lessons I learned is how large of a field genomics is and how many important issues can be addressed by genomics. In this class we discussed prevention to treatment, a variety of diseases such as HIV and obesity, and a variety of other topics. Genomics is not just the study of genes, it encompasses so much more and the importance of how genes and the environment can interact with each other, which is a very new idea compared to medelian genetics. Genomics is such an interesting field because it is so diverse.

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  51. 1. While there are not additional topics that I would like to have learned, I think that the order of some of the topics could be slightly altered. I feel that it would have been beneficial to learn about the microbiome earlier in the semester. This would have enabled us to discuss the possible uses of examining microbiota in relation to health and disease. It would have been interesting to learn about the microbiome before we studied GIS, as we could discuss ways that this genome could be used in this technology.

    2. One of the most important things that I have learned this semester is that genes are not the only factor determining health or disease. It is important to look at environmental aspects in unison with genetics. While having a mutation in a certain gene may result in a person having a higher risk for a disease, such as obesity, it is not the only determining factor; environmental factors, such as lifestyle and diet choices contribute highly to whether or not a person actually becomes obese.

    I have also learned the importance of being an educated consumer. While genetic testing can be very useful and beneficial, it is better done through a genetic counselor as opposed to direct-to-consumer genetic testing, which can be very misleading.

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  52. 1. i think that the class covers a great variety of topics that have to do with genomics. I would have liked to learn more about how animals, like dogs, can help researchers learn more about human genes and different environmental factors, etc. I really found the dog video quite interesting and learning more about that would have been nice.

    2. One of the most important things that i have learned this semester is that our genetics is not the only thing that plays a part. Things such as our environment, lifestyle, even our ancestors choices impacts us in some way today. Making sure that we are living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of ourselves can go a long way not just for us individually, but also for our children and our grandchildren etc., in the future.

    I really enjoyed taking this class. I had no idea about this class before I accidentally signed up for it. I'm really glad i stayed this semester because what we have learned, if more people knew this information it would be better for all. This class was not only informative but was always full of surprises. Things like how dogs have helped researchers learn about the human genome and different diseases is amazing. Learning more about the BRCA1/2 gene, how ancestors can impact future generations, and more have been enlightening and I'm glad i know this information now. This was a great class!

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  53. I am very interested in the topic of HIV/AIDS research. I think that this is a very important issue that hits very close to home for many of us. Being a gay man, I have many friends who are living with HIV/AIDS and I find myself not feeling as educated about the topic as I should be. I know that there is a new drug called Truavada that is possibly the new super drug to combat HIV/AIDS transmission and helps patients with HIV/AIDS obtain undetectable levels. This is a topic I’d love to know more about.

    One of the things that has stood out to me during this semester is how little I knew about how my ancestor’s environment affects my genes. I knew that my parent’s genes would be the direct influencer of my own genes, but had not thought about how my grandparents or great grandparents had a great affect on me. I also had not given it much thought about how people would deal with knowing what their genes hold. How does knowing that you carry the BRCA1/2 gene affect the life of an individual? I have been very shocked and excited to learn about this large ethical dilemma.

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  54. 1. I wish we had learned more in depth about GIS and GWAS. Even though they were on the exams I feel as though we could have went more into depth and utilized more specific examples as both are key to public health interventions and public health genomics.

    2. The take away message from this class is "the ghost" in our genes. The life course perspective is very important to share with others who are uninformed. It is crucial for the public to understand that what we eat, where we live, the amount of exercise, amount of stress, and virtually all other factors of life contribute to the next generation we produce. Not only are our own lives effected by epigenetic changes that switch genes on and off in our genome but they create lasting effects that may predispose our offspring to certain diseases and health outcomes. Understanding that certain periods in life create imprinting of genes e.g. pre-birth for females and puberty for males is vital because mothers and fathers must be cognizant of the activities they partake in during their life times. Knowing that life events have not only physical but biological consequences may change the way many people interact with the outside world.

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  55. 1. This course did a good job coving a variety of topics. I really enjoyed the Dogs Decoded video and found it extremely interesting. It seems as though animals, especially ones that we understand well, are important in helping researchers learn more about the human genome. I think it would be interesting to spend a little more time on that topic and discuss the different genes that scientists are studying in relation to dogs and humans. Additionally, I found GIS to be very useful and think it would be beneficial to go more in-depth with this topic as well.

    2. The most important take away message from this class was that behavior and lifestyle affect our genome. Not only do our own actions affect our genes but behavior from previous generations can also imprint on us and affect future generations. This is important for people to understand, so that they know that they're decisions, especially poor ones, could negatively influence future generations.

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  56. 1. This course did a really nice job of covering a wide range of topics that all related to genomics. I really enjoyed the dog video and I wish we went learned a little bit about some other diseases like lung cancer or Alzheimer's.

    2. The major take home message that I got from taking this class was that there are so many other factors that we are ultimately in control of and aren't directly related to our genetics that can impact our health status and the health status of future generations. With that in mind, I think it's important to spread this awareness to others to make sure we're as healthy as we can be! I definitely learned a lot that I didn't know about before taking the course.

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  57. 1. While I like the range of topics that we covered i class, I would have preferred if we concentrated on a few major topics. I really would've liked to spend more time on things like GMO (especially since it's probably one of the most controversial topics in relation to genetics). We only watched a brief video arguing against GMO's while I noticed that a lot of information in the video was either wrong or just made the attempt to sensationalize it in an attempt to spread their message. I really think it would've cool to have a debate on the topic in class.

    2. The major take home message that I got from the class was that I really should take care of myself more. While my genes might be fine (as far as I know) it's important that we have behaviors that positively influence our health via epigenetics. There is so much out the world that influences our health whether its via epigenetic factors, our diet (nutrigenomics/microbiome) etc. that every decision we make is important if we truly wish to take of ourselves properly and live long, healthy lives. This class also made me realize that genetics is not as concrete of a subject as it appears at first glance. The scientific community is still trying to work all of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of these diseases and we are still trying to create somewhat reliable genetic tests. Therefore, we shouldn't just take information that is provided to us to heart and that we should scrutinize and attempt to verify information ourselves because more times than not, people largely don't know what they're talking about. (lol)

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  58. 1. I would have likes to learn more about different types of cancers and genes associated with them instead of just breast cancer. Learning about less known cancer would have been interesting. I also liked learning about the gene doping, and would have wanted to get into the topic a little more, such as investigating specific cases of gene doping and the effects it has had on people.

    2. The major take home message i got from Genomics was the even though your genes have a part in how your life turns out in terms of conditions and diseases you may get, they are not always definite. I never knew how much the environment and epigenetics had on the development of disorder and diseases, and even effects the way that the genes and your DNA are expressed (or not expressed). I have learned that it is important for people to take care of themselves regardless of a condition they may have or may get, because that may make the difference in how their life turns out. It has changed the way I think about my every day actions.

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  59. 1.I would have liked to learn a bit more about genetically modified foods. While we watched an anti-GMO documentary and went over some of the benefits of GMO in class, I feel like we barely touched upon the subject. I do have a bias towards pro-GMO foods, but I feel like the anti-GMO side was strongly represented by the documentary.

    2. One message that I would tell others is that environment -- both physical and economic -- can affect your genome in ways that you don't understand. Via epigenetics, genes can turn off or on certain expressions. Lifestyle choices also play into shaping your genetic expression, so you have the ability to control your genetic fate.

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  60. 1. I liked that we covered a wide range of topics in the class, but I think it would have been interesting to learn more about GMOs because it is something we face all the time. I really enjoyed the dog movie; it might have been my favorite topic of the whole class.
    2. Genomics was an interesting class because it really looks in depth at ideas other classes do not. Learning about genomics is important for our health. The take home message is understanding the interaction between our genes and our environment and not just focusing on one or the other because both have such a key role in our health.

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  61. 1. I also liked many of the topics we covered in this course but I agree with what many people said above in that I would have liked to learn more about different types of cancers and also some of the well known hereditary genetic diseases such as huntington's etc. I also would have liked to learn more about autism and what the genetic links are for that particular disorder. Overall, I enjoyed learning about a broad variety of diseases and their genetic links.

    2. I learned a lot about how certain choices and unhealthy behaviors can affect your genes. I also learned more in depth about the laws and legislation surrounding genetic information. I also learned about genetic testing and the benefits and disadvantages of getting tested. Overall, I thought learning about these topics was very interesting and important for people to be informed about.

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  62. 1) I agree with many people on learning about GMOs; however, I would have also liked to learn about genetic engineering, cloning and stem cell research. All of them are really controversial topics but also hold a lot of promise for the future of medicine, specifically stem cell research. I think that since these are such hot topic issues, it's important for us to learn about them and understand the science behind it as well as the implications of such research.

    2) My biggest take home message was the trade off between nature and nurture in regards to gene expression. I always understood that there was interaction between the two but not to the extent that we discussed, like social and political environments on our genetics. Additionally, I think that the life course perspective is a really informative and interesting theory that I will continue to keep in mind. As an aside, I have to say that I also really appreciated learning about GINA. It's interesting how genetics has already come to the forefront of legislation and how it's being made a priority to protect individuals from having their genetics used against them.

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  63. I feel that we covered a wide range of topics over the course of this semester. Like many of our classmates, I would have liked to learn more about GMO's and also would have liked to learn more about different types of cancers. Another thing I wish we talked more about was gene therapy. I find gene therapy very interesting and would have liked to have gone into more detail about that as well.

    The biggest take home message I got from this class was epigenetics and the large influence environmental factors have on our genes. Going into this class I did not know much about genetics, but now I understand and realize how much our lifestyle choices and behavior can affect our genome. This has been one of my favorite classes and I'm glad I decided to take this course! I learned a lot of valuable information that I had not been aware of prior to the class.

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  64. One topic that I would want to learn more about is genetic engineering, specifically "engineered babies". I think this has a lot of controversial debates which can connect to our discussion regarding ELSI at the beginning of this semester. In my opinion, not many people have an understanding of what goes on "behind the scenes" of these genetically-modified humans. Therefore, by learning more about it, I hope to someday be able to answer questions such as: "What are the advantages of being an engineered baby?" or "What are the dangers of this procedure?" I think it would be interesting to talk about this topic in a Genomics class.

    For me, an important take home message from our class is the life course perspective approach to health. Learning about it has motivated me to take more care of myself mentally and physically. I am now more aware of environmental factors that can leave permanent effects and can influence my future children as well as grandchildren.

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  65. Even though we talked about a lot of diseases that were because of our genes, I would have liked to learn more about sex-linked heritable genetic diseases/disorders. It would be interesting to learn how the sex of an individual can cause him or her to be more susceptible to a certain disease/disorder, and what we could do to decrease the chances from happening. For example, learning how hemophilia occurs and its treatment could be an interesting topic.

    Coming into the class, I had little knowledge about genetics and genomics. An important take home message for me was when we learned about epigenetics and also the family history. It opened my eyes to see that there are environmental factors that we have control over that can affect our health and our genes that we pass on to our future generations.

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  66. This class covered a wide range of topics and I learned about many matters related to genomics and public health that I did not know anything about prior to taking this course. There were some topics that we did not spend much time on however, and I wish we did; one of them being, as many of my classmates have already stated, genetically modified foods, as they are something we are seeing more of everyday (and they stir up a lot of controversy between people). A couple other topics I would have liked to learn more about are human bioengineering, gene therapy, and the possibilities that these new arenas in science may have on medicine.

    The biggest take-home message I learned from this class is that genes do not determine our destiny; as much as they play a big role in our health and are an important determinant of what genetic diseases or conditions we are more susceptible to, they are not the only factor at play. There are various things we can do to reduce our risk of certain illnesses regardless of our genes.

    Overall, this course taught me a lot of valuable information that will aid me in my future career as a healthcare professional and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to take it. Thank you for a great semester.

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