subject
Intro

Coursera: Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

 with  Mohamed Noor
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.

Syllabus

Welcome to Genetics and Evolution
General introduction to this MOOC, including coverage and expectations.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

29 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Upcoming
Subject Biology
Institution Duke University
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 5-6 hours a week
Calendar 11 weeks long
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What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

29 reviews for Coursera's Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

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11 months ago
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Anonymous is taking this course right now.
I'm taking this course currently and already running ahead of schedule on Week 3 despite the course set to begin 10 days later. It's solely because of the interesting way in which the material is presented by Professor Noor and how well he organises the ideas he has to convey. He also offers great resources. The quizze Read More
I'm taking this course currently and already running ahead of schedule on Week 3 despite the course set to begin 10 days later. It's solely because of the interesting way in which the material is presented by Professor Noor and how well he organises the ideas he has to convey. He also offers great resources. The quizzes aren't too easy and aren't too hard. They just require some effort, which is nice.

I have a little bit of advice though. It would be great to have an understanding of basic genetics and cellular reproduction before you take this course: things like mitosis, meiosis, DNA replication, transcription, translation, basics of Mendel's laws etc. I took a semester of General Biology before this course, which made me comfortable even as he whizzed by these topics in the first two weeks. I'd definitely have had to put in more effort on my own to understand these things had I not known them before.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
This is an excellent class. The topic is interesting and very relevant today with the availability of direct-to-consumer DNA analysis. Prof. Noor has put together a wide array of material that will enable you to much better understand and appreciate the beauty of evolution and the power genomics is bringing to our worl Read More
This is an excellent class. The topic is interesting and very relevant today with the availability of direct-to-consumer DNA analysis. Prof. Noor has put together a wide array of material that will enable you to much better understand and appreciate the beauty of evolution and the power genomics is bringing to our world.

There are no prerequisites. The class took a fair bit of effort to answer a problem set each week. The problem sets were well designed. The two exams were challenging and fun. If you've gotten an analysis from 23andMe, you should take this class.

My biggest reward came a day ago when I looked at a journal paper online with an interesting title. While I didn't understand everything, I could read and make sense of much of the material. Thank you Prof Noor!
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Very well done with an engaging, enthusiastic professor. Material presented in a clear, logical format. Challenging enough to make you think, but within the scope of an "Introduction" level class. Problem sets and exams were fairly framed using the information presented in the course but requiring some though Read More
Very well done with an engaging, enthusiastic professor. Material presented in a clear, logical format. Challenging enough to make you think, but within the scope of an "Introduction" level class. Problem sets and exams were fairly framed using the information presented in the course but requiring some thought, not taken right from the lectures. Professor was actively involved in the discussion forums directly with students.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
I've taken about half a dozen courses at coursera and udacity so far, and this has been the best - mainly because of the enthusiasm of Prof. Noor and his ability to get even complex ideas across in an entertaining & clear manner. The content of the course is mid-level - not trivially simple and not excessively hard. Expect to put in some work, but it's well worth the effort.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent class! Dr. Noor is an outstanding professor...very down to earth with a good sense of humor. All topics are explained clearly. Exams can be challenging, but are reasonable. If you have an interest in evolution and genetics, you should take this class. Dr. Noor teaches it in a way that anyone can understand, with no pre-requisites.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Lectures are from a high energy and enthusiastic teacher who encourages questions on the forum and participates in discussions. Content is up to date and engaging. It's hard to keep up, but when you're learning so much it's worthwhile.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this class. The material was fascinating and the lecturer Dr Noor, is so enthusiastic and friendly and easy to understand.

I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in the subject.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
An excellent course, wonderful and enthusiastic instructor who made himself available and was supportive beyond what I had expected in any online course, let alone a MOOC.

Loved the format and learned a lot.
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3 years ago
Maboroshi completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Prof. Noor is undoubtedly passionate! Great lectures help beginner indulge into the topic quickly. Although the quiz and exam are a bit difficult and grading policy is strict, you should have a try.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
A1 marvellous , fascinating , amazing .Prof Noor is a brilliant educator and my fellow students were at once humorous and knowledgeable some of them frighteningly so , but in a good way
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a week ago
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Astrid is taking this course right now, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very hard.
Starts with an easy lecture on evolution but then goes deeper into gene analysis. Great lecturer but you do need some a good background in biology to really appreciate and follow the course.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Rewarding experience: Prof. Noor reads it really well. At the same time, homework requires serious thinking, research, and dedication.
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5 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Professor Noor is an exceptional teacher. It's one of the best courses I've ever taken. I'd recommend it to anyone!
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3 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Well crafted, well presented introduction to genetics and evolution by an amazingly involved instructor.
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4 years ago
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Anonymous completed this course.
Great course, favorite topics were genetic drift, neutral theory and population genetics.
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2 years ago
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a year ago
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2 years ago
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a year ago
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3 years ago
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Danilo Fernandez Rios completed this course, spending 20 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
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2 years ago
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Norma-jean Benoy completed this course.
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12 months ago
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Emma Stock completed this course.
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11 months ago
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2 years ago
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