GEN-21306 Personal Genetics


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. JJB Keurentjes
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. CN van der Weele
prof. dr. JJB Keurentjes
dr. ir. BA Pannebakker
Examiner(s)prof. dr. JJB Keurentjes

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Cell Biology

Continuation courses:

GEN-30306 Genetic Analysis, Tools and Concepts;
GEN-30806 Population and Quantitative Genetics.


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with GEN-11806 Fundamentals of Genetics and Molecular Biology.
Genetics is the study of all aspects of genes from the molecular to the population level that affect biologically inherited traits. Modern genetics is a molecular-level based science, but an understanding of its origin and the discovery of its principles is a useful context. Our understanding of fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms centered on DNA and RNA has increased significantly the last decades. There is an enormous increase in the DNA- and RNA-sequencing data generated every year of individuals and populations. This has strongly affected all disciplines of genetics, including population, quantitative and evolutionary genetics. In this course you will get familiar with the way of thinking, terms and basic concepts in Genetics. This will be achieved by a personal approach in which the web service 23andme will be central for the study of causes and consequences of human sequence variation. The course includes the opportunity of sequencing and analyzing the student's own genome and addressing the ethical impact of acquiring such information.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the basic genetic processes in eukaryotes: transmission of genetic information, the relationship between genotype and phenotype, the regulation and expression of genes, the generation of variation, the organization of genomes and genes;
- summarize the basic genetic methods: how genomes are explored, how populations are studied, how quantitative characters are studied, how genetics is applied in life sciences;
- recall tools and methods to study gene expression;
- recall and explain general genetic terms as described in the appropriate chapters of the textbook (i.e. to be able to understand and to speak the genetic language at a basic level);
- design, explain and interpret genetic experiments and observations, e.g. to recognize and analyse patterns of inheritance, gene interactions, consequences of chromosomal changes, genetic changes in populations, quantitative characters and epigenetic inheritance;
- analyse and judge the use of genetics in societal questions;
- be able to interpret ethical aspects of genome wide sequence information.


Lectures, tutorials, practical cases, computer excercises and self study of the textbook.


Written exam with open questions and problems, and some multiple choice questions may be part of the exam. Reports of the cases and computer tests make up upto 20% of the final mark.


Textbook: A primer of human genetics. Gibson, G. 2015 (Studystore); Course Guide: description to the details of the course; Lecture Notes and Practical Cases will be made available in Learning environment@WUR.

Restricted Optional for: MBFBioinformaticsMSc1MO
Restricted Optional for: WUHAHBSc Minor Healthy Aging in Humans and Model Species1MO