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The Secret Life of Your DNA

*There is an additional fee of $20 per person for the materials binder that comes with this course payable to the instructor at the first session. How exactly does your DNA make you 'you'? Given that you share 99.9% of your personal DNA sequence with every other human being, what are the processes by which your DNA expresses the combination of proteins that result in your unique appearance, physiology, health status, and personality? What is an 'mRNA vaccine' and how does it work to protect against COVID? Is Alzheimer's Disease genetic, and if so, can what we do influence the probability of getting Alzheimer's? In The Secret Life of Your DNA, you will learn about the functions of DNA, where it is in your body, and its structure. In class, we will discuss the processes involved in “The Central Dogma” of genetics: DNA?RNA?protein. You will learn about the exciting new area of biology called epigenetics, how your epigenome controls the expression of your DNA, and why the way that we live can change our epigenome — for the better or for the worse. In class, we will also talk about chromosome-linked diseases, ethical issues in genetics, personalized genomic medicine, and how companies like 23andMe analyze and report your DNA results. This course will include coloring projects, YouTube videos, and online reading. Anne Henriksen is JMU Faculty Emeritus, where she was a professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology for 19 years. Dr. Henriksen came to JMU from The Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she was a staff scientist for ten years. Dr. Henriksen received a Ph.D. in chemical physics from The University of Virginia, and an MBA in management science from the University of New Mexico. She has spent the last 14 years studying neuroscience, neuropharmacology, neuroendocrinology, genetics, and bioinformatics. Her personal interest is understanding the important role of sex steroid hormones in the brain during all stages of life. In her spare time, Dr. Henriksen enjoys playing the bass guitar, composing classical music for piano, spending time at the gym, and teaching and taking classes at the JMU Lifelong Learning Institute. She can be reached at:

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