Useful Genetics Part 1

This college-level course gives students a thorough understanding of gene function, and enables them to apply this understanding to real-world issues, both personal and societal. This is Part 1 of a two-part course; Part 2 focuses on the study of of how genes and traits are inherited.

About The Course


Image source: XKCD

Course philosophy This short article describes the ideas behind Useful Genetics: Why do we have to learn this stuff? A new genetics for 21st century students
Who might want to take this course?

  • People affected by or concerned about a genetic disease (either directly or in a family member)
  • People interested in the genetic diversity of humans or other species
  • People who have had (or are considering having) their genes or genomes analyzed by companies such as 23andMe
  • People concerned about the public use of personal genetic information
  • People interested in breeding animals or plants, or in in conservation of endangered species
  • People interested in genealogy and ancestry analysis
  • Health care professionals
  • Science teachers
  • Anyone interested in genetics but unable to enroll in university at this time

Frequently Asked Questions

Statements of Accomplishment: Students who earn 50% or better will receive a Statement of Accomplishment; those earning 80% or better will receive a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction.

Verified Certificates: Students may choose to enroll in the optional Signature Track, which provides an identity-verified Certificate.

Recommended Background

You will need some prior knowledge of basic biology (first-year college or a recent good high-school course).  A self-assessment pre-test will be provided to students who enroll in the course, and additional activities and readings will be made available for students who want to improve their preparation.