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Why Biology Matters: The Genome and You

Learn what a genome is and use this information to answer questions about biology, yourself, and the world around you.

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Understand the role of the genome in individuals, families and all humankind

By exploring genomes, we can develop a more detailed biological understanding of ourselves. This course focuses on building your knowledge of the genome, including concepts of genetic inheritance and how traits are transmitted from one generation to the next.

You will learn the type of information the genome provides and the social and philosophical implications of genomes in the future. It’s encouraged, but not required, for you to have completed Why Biology Matters: Basic Concepts before this course.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Many times we read in the newspapers or in magazines information that has a biological base and unfortunately we do not understand enough what is going on to have a critical opinion. Words such as genetic determinism, cloning, genetic manipulation, genetic modified organisms (GMOs), fight against death, eugenics, artificial selection, inheritance of intelligence, evolution of behavior, personalized medicine… are in our environment, but their interpretation needs some knowledge that we may not have.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds In the first MOOC, «Basic concepts» we intended, with a plain and focused language, to explain the basics of the main biological processes, considering also their social and ethical implications. As a general goal, we have intended to provide the basis for a biological understanding of humans, in order to answer questions that come from outside biology and to which biology has an answer. In this second course «The genome and you» we intend to focus on the specific questions that the knowledge we have on our genome may provide an answer, or, at least, a way of having a deep understanding on ourselves. We begin with the most basic concepts of the genetic inheritance and how traits are transmitted from one generation to next.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds We then make a zoom view on the genome, beginning with an explanation of the genome of a single individual (my own genome, in this case) and going away into the genome in the family, in the community, in forensics, in the populations and in all humankind trying to understand the information the genome provides and till the issues coming from the databases we already have on the genetic information for large amounts of individuals. The manipulation of genomes and the social and philosophical implications of the genome information close the course.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds You may be interested in the course as simple citizens: many human affairs have implications related to our genome and its knowledge. But also because many disciplines should take more into account the biological bases of humans and the implication that the knowledge of the genome is providing. We propose to accept and understand that we are rooted in our biology, in our DNA. This will allow having a deeper insight on ourselves and the world around us.

What topics will you cover?

  • Genetic of simple traits
  • Genetics of complex traits
  • Shared proportion of the genome
  • Differences among human populations and our ancestors
  • Future of selecting genome

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in genetics and learning more about human biology. This includes students and professionals in science, sociology, human evolution, and history.

Who developed the course?

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is a public, international and research-intensive university in Barcelona. In just 25 years, it has earned a place for itself among the best universities in Europe.

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