Useful Genetics is taught in two parts. Students in Part 1 may want to also sign up for the separate course Useful Genetics Part 2.
Part 1. Genes and their effects (6 weekly modules plus a final exam week)
Module 1. How different
are we? Introduction to DNA, genes and chromosomes and the relationships
between human populations. Ancestral interbreeding with Neanderthals.
Module 2. How DNA molecules change. The causes and immediate consequences of mutations.
Module 3. DNA differences
and gene functions. How mutations that change gene activity or function affect the properties of organisms.
Module 4. Mutations in regulatory genes. How mutations cause cancer. Sex determination and genes on sex chromosomes.
Natural genetic variation. How natural genetic variation is studied, and how it differs from classical alleles. Heritability and genome-wide association studies. Genetic variation for cancer risks.
Module 6. Personal
genomics. Kinds of DNA typing and genome analysis, and what
can be learned from them about health risks, personal attributes and ancestry.
Part 2. Inheritance (taught as the separate course Useful Genetics Part 2) (5 weekly modules plus a final exam week)
Module 7. The mechanics of inheritance. How genes and chromosomes are transmitted through the generations (including the molecular mechanisms of mitosis and meiosis).
Module 8. Genetic analysis. Using genetic crosses as a research tool to investigate how genes work and what they do. Sex-linkage, pedigree analysis, and hypothesis testing.
Module 9. All about breeding and inbreeding. More about heritability and association studies. Inbreeding in humans, crops and livestock, and evolution. Hybrids and genetically modified organisms.
Module 10. Chromosomal changes. Changes in the number of chromosomes and in how genes are arranged on them. Genome evolution.
Module 11. Selected advanced topics. The origin of life, mitochondrial genes and mutations, genetic mosaicism, fetal DNA in mothers, epigenetic inheritance, and other topics students may suggest.