Free Online Course: Introduction to Genetics and Evolution
|October 5, 2012||Posted by Jonathan M under Education|
Critics of modern evolutionary theory have an intellectual responsibility to strive to understand the paradigm that they are critiquing, preferably to a level where they can clearly articulate the key propositions of evolutionary theory and offer a standard defense of them.
Richard Hoppe, at the Panda’s Thumb blog, drew my attention to a free online course on the subject of genetics and evolution. You can, as I have done, sign up for (and read about) the course at this link.
The course description states,
“Introduction to Genetics and Evolution gives interested people a very basic overview of the 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, and why animals behave the way they do. This course provides the basic biology you need to understand all of these issues better and tries to clarify some misconceptions. No prior coursework is assumed.”
Topics that will be covered in this course include:
- Evidence for evolution
- Introduction to basic genetics
- Recombination and genetic mapping simple traits
- Complications to genetic mapping
- Genes vs. environment
- Basic population genetics and Hardy-Weinberg
- Gene flow, differentiation, inbreeding
- Natural selection and genetic drift
- Molecular evolution
- Evolutionary applications and misapplications
- Adaptive behaviors and species formation
Dr. Mohamed Noor, who obtained his PhD, I am told, under Jerry Coyne, will be the instructor of the course:
“Dr. Mohamed Noor is the Earl D. McLean Professor and Associate Chair of Biology at Duke University. His expertise is in molecular evolution, and a large part of his research has been devoted to trying to understand the genetic changes that ultimately lead to the formation of new species. More recently, his research team has used fruit fly species to understand the causes and evolutionary consequences of variation in rates of genetic recombination/ exchange.
Dr. Noor has received several awards for research, teaching, and mentoring, and has been active in the scientific community, including serving as president of the American Genetic Association, chair of the NIH study section in Genetic Variation and Evolution, and editor of the journal Evolution.”
The course lasts 10 weeks and begins on October 10th. The description page also notes that “The class will consist of watching multiple lecture mini-videos which are roughly 10-15 minutes in length. These contain 1-3 integrated quiz questions per video. There will also be 3 test assessments, including a non-cumulative final exam.”
I particularly recommend that those among us who don’t have a strong biology background take this course. It is very important that we ID proponents make sure we have a robust grasp of what evolutionary theory is saying and why it says it, so that no one can say we haven’t given it a fair hearing. Go here to register!