Why does a commercial dairy cow produce four times as much milk as most other mammals? Why do we look like our cousins? Why do roses come in so many different colors? The answers to these and other questions about the diversity of living things involve processes that occur at the level of genes.
Essentials of Genetics is a brief guide through the core concepts of how genes are structured and how they drive biological diversity. This course can be used as a guide for introductory biology students, as a reference for advanced students, or as a self-guided exploration for general science enthusiasts. Topics covered include the nature of DNA and its relationship to the physical characteristics of organisms; the passage of DNA from organism to organism; and the variation of DNA within and across populations of organisms. Essentials of Genetics also connects these core concepts to the scientific process by discussing the key tools used to study DNA in the laboratory. Alongside each concept are links to biographies of scientists who made major contributions to the field, as well as to a broad set of detailed readings on advanced topics in modern genetics. Finally, Essentials of Genetics combines its descriptions of various core concepts with high-quality video animations of molecular processes to stimulate an intuitive physical understanding of genetics.