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Discover the building blocks of who we are through the study of genetics
Genetics as a science centres on our genes and DNAs - the building blocks that determine much of who we are. It focuses particularly on the process of heredity; that is what is passed down from parents to their children.
Our modern conception of genetics dates back to the mid-19th century, when a Moravian (modern day Czechia) monk called Gregor Mendel conducted a series of experiments by crossbreeding different varieties of peas. He noticed how certain characteristics were dominant through generations, while others were recessive - passed down, but only sometimes apparent.
Advances in medical genetics: Mapping the human genome
Our understanding today is naturally far more sophisticated, as we learn more about genetics every day. Alongside other developments, in 2003, scientists managed, through the collaborative Human Genome Project, to identify and map the entire human genome. This is the genetic material of which we’re all made, consisting of the unique DNA sequences which make us human.
This advanced understanding has allowed us to make significant progress in medical science, helping us to understand things like genetic diseases and biological psychology, and develop genomic medicine to treat hereditary conditions like diabetes.
Improve your understanding of genetics at all levels
If you want to learn more about genetics, FutureLearn offers a range of different courses aimed at those with different base levels of understanding, covering different areas and applications of medical genetics.
Laypeople who want to understand more about genetics and genetic medicine will find a number of courses suitable as an entry point into this scientific field. Such learners can find answers to questions around what constitutes the human genome, what causes genetic diseases, and the principles of biological psychology, as well as how advances in our understanding of cancer genetics is being used in the ongoing fight against that disease.
These courses also contain information that would be relevant to medical professionals or students who would like to advance their knowledge of genetics, in the interests of continuing professional development or study. Other courses are more specifically aimed at healthcare professionals, covering topics from genetic counselling, to community-focused genomic medicine, to genomic technology in clinical diagnostics and clinical bioinformatics, and more.
These courses can provide a solid foundation from which healthcare professionals can further develop or refresh their understanding of genetic diseases, genomic medicine, and related issues.
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