Introduction to Genetics and Evolution with Mohamed Noor


– My name is Mohamed Noor, and my course is on
genetics and evolution. These are two interrelated
areas in biology. In this course, I’m going
to emphasize two things. First, current topics of research. What are people who are actually trying to understand genetics
and evolution doing today? And second, how it affects the public. What are the kinds of things that somebody sitting next to you on an
airplane might ask you about when you say that you’re a biologist, something that happens
to me quite frequently. So the first half of the
class is largely on genetics, patterns of inheritance. Why is it that you look like your parents? And why do you look more like your parents than like other people’s parents? This is what we try to
discuss in the class. We also go from there into understanding genetics and disease. So for example, how do we find the genes that are related to disease
and disease predisposition? This is particularly timely right now, when you can for a fee go
to a commercial company and find out your genetic
likelihood of a disease. The second part of the
class goes into evolution. One of the very first things
I try to do is emphasize that there is no debate within
the scientific community about the truth of evolution. I show the extensive evidence for this. We go into basic evolutionary principles, things like natural selection
and other evolutionary forces that aren’t talked about quite as much. And finally at the end,
I try to round it out and talk about how studying evolution enhances our everyday life. How have evolutionary concepts
been applied to things like medicine, pest control, and understanding the origin of humans. Overall, that’s my course. It’s intended for anybody
with an interest in biology. There’s no prerequisites whatsoever. As long as you’re interested,
I think you’ll enjoy it. Thank you!

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