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23andMe Teams with Udacity on Genetics Education

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Direct-to-consumer genetics firm 23andMe said today that it has teamed up with Udacity to create an open, online education course in human genetics.

The course, called Tales from the Genome, will be instructed by Matthew Cook, a course developer and genetics instructor for Silicon Valley-based education startup Udacity. He holds a PhD from Duke in cell and molecular biology. Co-instructors for the course include 23andMe Senior Medical Director Uta Francke, who also is an emeritus professor of genetics and pediatrics at Stanford University, and Joanna Mountain, 23andMe's senior director of research, who also previously served as a faculty member at Stanford in the anthropological sciences and genetics departments.

The course covers the "fundamental principles of inheritance, gene structure and expression, mutation and variation, development of simple and complex biological traits, human ancestry and evolution, and the acquisition and interpretation of personal genetic information," 23andMe said in a statement. It is intended for high school, college and medical students, healthcare professionals, and others interested in learning about genetics.

"As individuals are becoming more actively involved in their healthcare and more physicians incorporate personalized medicine into their practice, genetic information is becoming a fundamental element of basic healthcare," Francke said. "As a result, genetics education has never been more important, particularly for individuals seeking the best possible care for themselves and their families."

The Tales from the Genome course will be available to the public on Udacity's site as of Sept. 30.