LTE199H1

2017-18 First-Year Seminars | LTE199H1: Living Things and their Environment (Category 4)

A few First-Year Seminars give preference during the first round of enrolment to students with membership in the college offering the course - if this is the case, the college name will be listed beside the course title. During the second round of enrolment, first-year students at any college may enroll if space is available.

Refer to the 2017-18 Arts & Science Timetable for the schedule information of each offering.

LTE 199H1F: Living Things and Their Environment (4): 2017 Fall Offerings

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Section Title College
L0121 Wild Toronto  
L0421 Genes, Genomes and Us  
L0422 Topics in Biotechnology and Agriculture  
L0423 Topics in Biotechnology and Agriculture  

LTE 199H1S: Living Things and Their Environment (4): 2018 Winter Offerings

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Section Title College
L0121 Human Evolution and Ecology  
L0122 Genes and Behaviour  
L0361 Critical Periods, Brain Plasticity, and Development  
L5121 Human Evolution and Ecology  
L5421 Biotechnology and Society  

LTE 199H1F: 2017 Fall Offerings

LTE 199H1F | Section L0121                                                              

Wild Toronto
Most of us are urban creatures. We can find our way to our favourite restaurant, art gallery, or shopping mall with ease. We are comfortable navigating our environment. But how many of us ever take our eyes off digital devices to discover the animals that share the city with us? In this seminar we will identify the other vertebrate species comprising the ecological community that we call “Toronto”. We will learn their names, whether they are endemic (from here originally) or newcomers, general aspects of their biology that suit them to living in an urban environment, and what happens when the wild and the domesticated members of the community meet one another.
Exclusion Grade 12 Biology

Instructor: D. McLennan, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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LTE 199H1F | Section L0421

Genes, Genomes and Us
With the completion of the human genome sequence, we now have access to more information than ever before about our genetic make-up. The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA, encoding an estimated 25,000 genes, which are the basic units of heredity. This course addresses topics such as what are genes, how are they identified and how does knowledge about genes impact society at large. One focus is how this information is used to understand and treat human diseases. Starting from media reports in which given genes have been identified that cause certain diseases, students examine the original scientific research that underlies these claims. In so doing, students explore the basic concepts that explain the genetic foundations of complex traits. Building on this, the significance of genomic research for understanding human biology, and the social consequences that may result from it, are discussed. Evaluation is based on class discussions, oral presentations and written essays.

Professors: A. Bruce, Department of Cell and Systems Biology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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LTE 199H1F | Section L0422
LTE 199H1F | Section L0423

Topics in Biotechnology and Agriculture
Never before has the public been more involved in decisions about the direction of technological progress and never before has public opinion been more strongly influenced by the outcome of scientific studies. In the light of this, surprisingly little effort has been invested into optimizing the connection between primary data from original scientific sources and public debate. In this seminar course, students will research, and present for discussion, examples of important developments in biotechnology and agriculture as well as examples for their often controversial interpretation in the sphere of public debate. All students will be empowered to directly access, retrieve and critically evaluate primary data from original scientific articles and to separate those data from interpretation and conclusion. Students of different opinion backgrounds are expected to meet and get involved in productive discussions to obtain shared evidence and then meticulously dissect possible interpretations. Covering diverse topics in biotechnology and agriculture, the course will provide solid knowledge about (a) underlying natural principles, (b) strategies to obtain information from reliable sources and (c) organization of informative discussions.

Professor: T. Berleth, Department of Cell and Systems Biology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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LTE 199H1S: 2018 Winter Offerings

LTE 199H1S | Section L0121
LTE 199H1S | Section L5121
                                                              

Human Evolution and Ecology
Learn about the evolution and ecology of humans and other species. Through discussion, scientific literature research, seminal readings, written reports and presentations you will discover scientific answers to questions such as (topics vary among years): How did life originate? Why are there so many species? Where did humans come from? Will humans become extinct? How can we explain human DNA and human brain size? Need we worry about climate change? What is causing the sixth extinction crisis? Are there ecological limits to human population size? What will life be like in the Anthropocene? Are humans still evolving?
Exclusion Grade 12 Biology

Instructor: M. Gross, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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LTE 199H1S | Section L0123                                                           

Genes and Behaviour
In this course you will experience the new paradigm in behaviour genetic research. You will learn why the concept of a nature-nurture dichotomy is passé and that it has been replaced by a new understanding gained from animal and human research in the areas of gene by environment interaction and epigenetics. We will discuss how our genome listens to our environment and the effect this has on our health and behaviour. We will learn why our early experiences are critical for the development of our brains and our bodies. Together this new body of knowledge will help us understand how individual differences in behaviour and health arise.

Instructor: M. B. Sokolowski, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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LTE 199H1S | Section L0361                                                               

Critical Periods, Brain Plasticity, and Development
When you reach a certain age, it’s thought that you are no longer able to learn certain things. This can be referred to as a critical, sensitive or optimal period. We will explore these periods in animals and humans. In humans, we will evaluate sensitive periods across different psychological functions (including language and cognitive ability) and across different social contexts. We will explore the role of early life experiences for development, and discuss the benefits and pitfalls of brain plasticity for learning. Students will learn about mechanisms of brain plasticity and explore current research on critical periods and age-related limits on learning.

Professor: A. Finn, Department of Psychology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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LTE 199H1S | Section L5421

Biotechnology and Society
From the manipulation of genes of plants for improved food production through to human tissue engineering and stem cell research, biotechnology is increasingly playing a major role in our world. Society, however, is often challenged by the rapid advances in our knowledge in these areas, and how to best apply these technologies in a manner that is socially responsible and economically viable. In this seminar course, students will research and describe various applications of biotechnology using information obtained from reputable sources, and lead discussions on the benefits and concerns that arise from this research.

Professor J. Coleman, Department of Cell and Systems Biology
Breadth category: 4 Living Things and Their Environment

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