Mar 8th 2016

DNA: Biology’s Genetic Code (edX)

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DNA carries the defining data for life in a simple genetic code that comes with its own “back-up” system. Explore DNA structure with us!

DNA encodes our genetic information and is passed on within cells to maintain living organisms and to produce the next generation. The recognition of DNA as the genetic material and the ensuing identification of its structure and coding mechanism were both revolutionary and foundational. These discoveries led to transformational integration across the biological sciences with a common understanding of this fundamental unit of life! Join this exploration of DNA structure, packaging, replication, and manipulation.

The course utilizes video lectures, research articles, case studies, and molecular models to convey information. The course grade will be based on questions with each video lecture, quizzes, homework, and a final exam.

What you'll learn:

- Methods that identified DNA as the genetic material

- Structure of DNA and methods for packaging DNA into the cell

- Impacts of packaging on DNA expression in higher organisms and passage of information with no change in DNA (epigenetics)

- Location-specific DNA expression in the cell

- Machinery for replicating DNA with an extremely low error rate

- Place of origin and timing for DNA replication

- Mechanisms for “preserving” the ends of linear DNA

- Types of damage that affect DNA structure and how DNA moves around

- Procedures to amplify DNA sequences and to determine base sequence

- Enzymes to fragment DNA into specific segments that can be separated

- Methods to recombine DNA segments from different sources

- Ways to introduce recombined DNA into cells, including human cells