About this Course
Introduction to Genetics and Evolution is a college-level class being offered simultaneously to new students at Duke University. The course gives interested people a very basic overview of some principles behind these very fundamental areas of biology. We often hear about new "genome sequences," commercial kits that can tell you about your ancestry (including pre-human) from your DNA or disease predispositions, debates about the truth of evolution, why animals behave the way they do, and how people found "genetic evidence for natural selection." This course provides the basic biology you need to understand all of these issues better, tries to clarify some misconceptions, and tries to prepare students for future, more advanced coursework in Biology (and especially evolutionary genetics). No prior coursework is assumed.
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100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 38 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
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English

Subtitles: English, Romanian
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 38 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Romanian

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
20 minutes to complete

Welcome to Genetics and Evolution

General introduction to this MOOC, including coverage and expectations....
Reading
2 readings
Reading2 readings
Welcome to the Course10m
Course App and Readings10m
Clock
2 hours to complete

Evidence for Evolution

This module discusses the definition of the word "evolution" in a biological context, evidence for the truth of evolution and common ancestry of species, and public thoughts and misconceptions about biological evolution. This module is optional and will not be included in the course assessments. There are not class discussion forums for this section, as we feel such discussion can happen on other, non-course-related, sites on this topic (of which there are a great many on the internet)....
Reading
5 videos (Total 81 min), 1 reading
Video5 videos
Basic Principles and Evidence for Evolution (G)17m
Acceptance of Evolution (G)13m
Responding to Criticisms of Evolutionary Theory (G)12m
Interview with Jerry Coyne (G)30m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Evidence for Evolution10m

2

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Genetics I

An introduction to basic transmission genetics and inheritance. This module reflects what is often covered in high school biology courses in the USA....
Reading
6 videos (Total 74 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Inheritance (G)11m
Genetic Scales (S)11m
Mitosis, Meiosis, and Ploidy (S)8m
Basic Single-Gene Inheritance (G)15m
X-Linked Inheritance and Independent Assortment (S)16m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Genetics I10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Genetics Problem Set 112m
Genetics I Quiz20m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Genetics II

This module delves somewhat more deeply into genetics and specifically the concept of "recombination." It begins to discuss how recombination is leveraged in classic genetic works as well as mapping simple genetic traits using crosses or data from natural populations. ...
Reading
7 videos (Total 97 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video7 videos
Calculation of Recombination Distance (S)15m
Generating a Gene Map (S)11m
Bonus Video: A More Challenging Problem (S)9m
Genetic Mapping (S)11m
Mapping Traits Relative to Markers in a Cross (S)11m
Mapping Traits Relative to Markers in a Population (S)21m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Genetics II10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Genetics Problem Set 222m
Genetics II Quiz20m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Genetics III

This module delves even more deeply into the complexities of the genetics underlying traits,the origin of genetic variation, and how "complex" traits (ones controlled by multiple genes) are studied genetically....
Reading
6 videos (Total 75 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Shortcomings of the Single Gene Model (G)19m
Mutation Rates (S)10m
Mapping Complex Traits (S)11m
Complex Traits in Crosses (S)9m
Genome-wide Association Studies (S)12m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Genetics III10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Genetics Problem Set 316m
Genetics III Quiz20m

5

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Heritability and Population Growth

This module begins the transition to evolutionary genetics by looking at the relative contributions of genetics and environment to traits, and also introduces how population growth is studied....
Reading
6 videos (Total 74 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Contribution of Genes vs. Environment II (S)14m
Contribution of Genes vs. Environment III (S)6m
Breeder's Equation (S)9m
Population Growth (S)14m
Carrying Capacity (S)11m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Heritability and Population Growth10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Heritability Problem Set16m
Heritability Quiz20m

6

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Population Genetics I

Rather than looking at individuals, this module discusses how multiple individuals from natural populations can be studied genetically to begin to understand the evolutionary forces acting upon the populations....
Reading
6 videos (Total 69 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (S)12m
Deviation from Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (S)12m
Differences Between Populations: Origins and Quantification (S)14m
Differences Between Populations: Effects of Gene Flow (S)7m
Inbreeding (S)12m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Population Genetics I10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Population Genetics Problem Set 116m
Population Genetics Quiz20m

7

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Population Genetics II

This module extends the previous one to specifically examine the effects of natural selection and genetic drift on genetic variation in natural populations....
Reading
7 videos (Total 103 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video7 videos
Types at Single Loci (S)21m
Types Acting on Traits (S)10m
Genetic Drift and Sampling Error (S)11m
Sampling Error over Many Generations (S)14m
Case Studies and Examples (G)15m
Rate of Neutral Molecular Evolution (S)12m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Population Genetics II10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Population Genetics Problem Set 220m
Population Genetics II Quiz20m

8

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Molecular Evolution

This advanced module explains why sexual reproduction (involving recombination) is evolutionarily advantageous, and discusses how the analysis of DNA sequences can be used to understand the evolutionary forces acting on populations or species, either in general or at specific genes....
Reading
7 videos (Total 88 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video7 videos
Recombination, Selective Sweeps, and Hitchhiking (S)14m
Signatures of Natural Selection (S)9m
Background Selection (S)7m
Signatures of Natural Selection in Individual Genes (G,S)15m
Searching for Natural Selection: dN/dS (S)13m
Searching for Natural Selection: McDonald-Kreitman Test (S)15m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Molecular Evolution10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Molecular Evolution Problem Set20m
Molecular Evolution Quiz20m

9

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Adaptive Behaviors and Sexual Selection

This module changes gears a bit to look at the exciting field of animal behavior-- specifically, how particular behaviors are or may be adaptive, and why individuals choose particular others as mates....
Reading
5 videos (Total 75 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video5 videos
Communication and Parental Care (G)18m
Intro to Sexual Selection (G)13m
Sexual Selection: Male Competition and Female Choice (G)13m
Sexual Selection: Evolutionary Causes (S)9m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Adaptive Behaviors and Sexual Selection10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Behavior and Sexual Selection Problem Set16m
Adaptive Behaviors and Sexual Selection Quiz20m

10

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Speciation and Phylogenetics

This module gets into the nitty gritty of what causes the formation of new species, and how evolutionary relationships between species are inferred....
Reading
6 videos (Total 92 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Speciation: Effects of Geography (S)15m
Speciation: Genetic Control (S)13m
Reading Evolutionary Trees (G)18m
Generating Evolutionary Trees (S)17m
Phylogenetic Comparative Method (S)8m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Speciation and Phylogenetics10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Speciation and Phylogenetics Problem Set16m
Speciation and Phylogenetics Quiz20m

11

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Applied Evolution

This final module talks about applications and misapplications of many of the concepts discussed in the course to human health, understanding, and well-being. This module is optional and not included in the assessments....
Reading
2 videos (Total 27 min), 1 reading
Video2 videos
MISapplications of Evolutionary Insights (G)10m
Reading1 readings
Supplemental Materials, Applied Evolution10m
4.8
Direction Signs

67%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course
Money

25%

got a pay increase or promotion

Top Reviews

By YHJul 4th 2017

The course is really interesting! I love the way the professor demonstrate genetics theories by countless examples and evidence. And those questions about debates in genetics are thought-provoking!

By TNSep 28th 2017

Very good course that prepared me for Genetics at Pima Community College in Tucson. I am able to follow the lectures and actually understand what is being presented. I am glad I took this course.

Instructor

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Dr. Mohamed Noor

Earl D. McLean Professor and Chair,

About Duke University

Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world....

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