Genomes and Diversity: A Free Online Course from N.Y.U.


From Mark Sie­gal, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of the Cen­ter for Genomics and Sys­tems Biol­o­gy at NYU, comes Genomes and Diver­si­ty. The 25 lec­tures in the playlist above cov­er the fol­low­ing ground:

Mil­lions of species of ani­mals, plants and microbes inhab­it our plan­et. Genomics, the study of all the genes in an organ­ism, is pro­vid­ing new insights into this amaz­ing diver­si­ty of life on Earth. We begin with the fun­da­men­tals of DNA, genes and genomes. We then explore micro­bial diver­si­ty, with an empha­sis on how genomics can reveal many aspects of organ­isms, from their ancient his­to­ry to their phys­i­o­log­i­cal and eco­log­i­cal habits. We fol­low with exam­i­na­tions of ani­mal and plant diver­si­ty, focus­ing on domes­ti­cat­ed species, such as dogs and toma­toes, as exam­ples of how genom­ic meth­ods can be used to iden­ti­fy genes that under­lie new or oth­er­wise inter­est­ing traits. Genomics has also trans­formed the study of human diver­si­ty and human dis­ease. We exam­ine the use of DNA to trace human ances­try, as well as the use of genomics as a diag­nos­tic tool in med­i­cine. With the pow­er­ful new tech­nolo­gies to study genomes has come an increased pow­er to manip­u­late them. We con­clude by con­sid­er­ing the soci­etal impli­ca­tions of this abil­i­ty to alter the genomes of crop plants, live­stock and poten­tial­ly humans.

Below find the texts orig­i­nal­ly used in the course:

Required Texts:

Rob DeSalle and Michael Yudell, Wel­come to the Genome: A User’s Guide to the Genet­ic Past, Present, and Future (John Wiley & Sons, 2005).

For those stu­dents want­i­ng an extra resource for learn­ing about the basics of DNA, RNA and oth­er aspects of mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy, see: Rene F. Kratz, Mol­e­c­u­lar & Cell Biol­o­gy for Dum­mies (Wiley, Inc., 2009).

Required Mul­ti­me­dia DVD:

DNA Inter­ac­tive (Cold Spring Har­bor Lab­o­ra­to­ry Press, 2003).

Required Arti­cles:

  • Mesel­son and Stahl: the art of DNA repli­ca­tion”, Davis TH, 2004, PNAS 101:17895–17896
  • “Enter­ing the postgenome era” Novak R, 1995, Sci­ence270:368 371
  • “From genome to pro­teome: look­ing at a cel­l’s pro­teins” Kahn P. 1995, Sci­ence 270:369 370
  • “Inter­pret­ing the uni­ver­sal phy­lo­gen­tic tree” Woese CR 2000, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97:8392 8396
  • “Is it time to uproot the tree of life?” Pen­nisi E. 1999, Sci­ence 284:1305 1307
  • “Small dogs evolved in Mid­dle East”, Wogan T. 2010, Sci­ence NOW, 24 Feb. 2010
  • “The tam­ing of the cat” Driscoll CA, Clut­ton-Brock J. Kitch­en­er AC and O’Brien SJ, 2009, Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­ca 300:68–75
  • “The Genes We Share with Yeast, Flies, Worms and Mice” Howard Hugh­es Med­ical Insti­tute 2001
  • “Diver­si­fy­ing selec­tion in plant breed­ing”, McCouch S. 2004, PLoS Biol­o­gy 2:e347
  • “The genet­ic, devel­op­ment, and mol­e­c­u­lar bases of fruit size and shape vari­a­tion in toma­to” Tanksley SD 2004, The Plant Cell 16:S181 S189
  • “The mol­e­c­u­lar genet­ics of crop domes­ti­ca­tion”, Doe­b­ley JF, Gaut BS and Smith BD 2006, Cell127:1309–1321
  • “Fac­ing your genet­ic des­tiny (part I)”, Pis­toi S. 2002, Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can Dig­i­tal, 18 Feb­ru­ary 2002
  • “Fac­ing your genet­ic des­tiny (part II)”, Pis­toi S. 2002, Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can Dig­i­tal, 18 Feb­ru­ary 2002
  • “A genet­ic melt­ing-pot”, Feld­man MW, Lewon­tin RC and King M‑C, 2003, Nature 424:374
  • “Off the beat­en path: an inter­view with Spencer Wells”, PLoS Genet­ics 3:e44
  • “A decade of cloning mys­tique”, Cibel­li J. 2007, Sci­ence316:990–992
  • “Cou­ples cull embryos to halt her­itage of can­cer” Har­mon A. 2006, The New York Times, 3 Sep­tem­ber 2006
  • “That wild streak? Maybe it runs in the fam­i­ly”, Har­mon A. 2006, The New York Times, 15 June 2006

Genomes and Diver­si­ty will be added to our list of Free Biol­o­gy Cours­es, a sub­set of our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

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