University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Genomics: Decoding the Universal Language of Life
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Genomics: Decoding the Universal Language of Life

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

42,022 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals


(303 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
36 hours to complete
3 weeks at 12 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile


24 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills


Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review


There are 7 modules in this course

You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required for the course.

What's included

2 videos4 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt1 plugin

Genes, genomes, DNA: these words have slipped into our daily news cycles and our awareness, but what they actually mean often remains unclear. In these lessons, we aim to give you, not just the Biology 101 explanation of what a genome is, but a real-life perspective on why you already care about genomics – perhaps in ways you didn’t even realize. Are you interested in where your food comes from, what health conditions you are most likely to develop, what fish will share your aquarium most successfully? Genomes are a key to finding a better answer to these and other everyday questions.

What's included

11 videos3 quizzes2 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

You may have seen DNA visually represented in different ways: a twisted ladder, a tangle of string, an array of sloppy X shapes, a row of letters. But what is DNA actually doing, and how does it relate to genes and the genome? How are scientists able to move from studying the physical structure of the genome to understanding its functionality? This module will help you become more comfortable with these ideas.

What's included

11 videos3 quizzes2 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

Often, we hear about genes only when something goes wrong – when mutations, mistakes made in the DNA sequence, cause a disease like cancer cystic fibrosis. But what happens inside our cells that leads from a mutation in DNA to the physical symptoms of a disease? Why do some mutations cause positive outcomes, or no change at all? To answer these questions, we take a closer look at how information flows from genes, to RNA, to proteins, to all the physical structures and processes that make up living things.

What's included

14 videos4 quizzes2 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

If all the cells in all the tissues and organs of our bodies have the same genome, how is it that they can look so different? How does a hair cell, a white blood cell, or a brain cell know what to do or where to go? The answer can be found by looking beyond the structure of the genome, into the timing of its activities. Recognizing how the information stored in the genome can be used in flexible ways shows us how living things can develop and change over time.

What's included

13 videos5 quizzes2 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

You may have heard of "nature vs. nurture" or the modern day response, "nature AND nurture!" But how does "nurture," the environment, act through the genome? Can the biological effects of experience be passed from one generation to the next? And what does all of this have to do with everyday issues, like our physical and mental health? A closer look at two mechanisms that help regulate the activity for genes, epigenetic modifications and transcription factors, provides some answers.

What's included

16 videos4 quizzes2 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

The world is a big and sometimes incomprehensibly complex place. Just as no gene in the genome acts in isolation, no living thing on this planet exists in isolation. In this final module of the course, we explore some of the rich, complicated interactions between living things, their genomes, and the world that surrounds them.

What's included

10 videos4 quizzes2 peer reviews2 discussion prompts1 plugin


Instructor ratings
4.7 (71 ratings)
Dr. Gene E. Robinson
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2 Courses49,215 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Research

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

Learner reviews

Showing 3 of 303


303 reviews

  • 5 stars


  • 4 stars


  • 3 stars


  • 2 stars


  • 1 star



Reviewed on Sep 16, 2022


Reviewed on Jan 2, 2019


Reviewed on Dec 17, 2020

New to Research? Start here.


Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions