We will explore the different types of mutations, how they interact, and how they can be used in biomedical research. We will discuss how genes are turned on and off and spliced into alternative forms. We will discuss epigenetics, which can heritably alter gene expression without changing DNA sequence. We will learn about transposons, viruses, and their impact on the genome - as well as their hosts’ defenses and the usefulness of these defenses in genetic engineering. Finally, we will look at therapeutics for disease and societal issues related to genetics.
This course will consist of daily lectures, readings, short problem sets, and discussions among peers. You will have the opportunity to raise questions about the material (something you are curious about or don't understand) and also respond to peer questions. Additionally, you will complete a final project, which will be a written essay on a genetics topic of your choosing, with the instructor’s guidance. This topic could be a genetics story in the news, a particular disease of interest, an aspect of biotechnology, or a genetics topic with ethical implications.
As a result of completing this course, you will:
• Gain a broad overview of genetics, both Mendelian and non-Mendelian
• Be familiar with the structure of genes, mRNAs, proteins, and genomes
• Think about biological problems at multiple levels simultaneously
• Understand the connections genetics has with human disease and genetic engineering
• Understand the scientific basis of societal issues related to genetics.
This course will emphasize fundamental scientific concepts, building up to final units on human disease and genetic engineering. It will provide a strong foundation for future courses in human genetics, molecular biology, or neuroscience as well as applied fields such as medicine, biotechnology, or genetic counseling.
Completion of a high school biology course is required.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.