Biological literacy: executions cannot be pardoned

    To be considered literate in the broad sense of the word, a person must not only write without errors and be able to count, but also understand history, politics, be well-read, and so on. Now computer literacy has firmly strengthened in this list - it would be very strange not to meet it there, given that we have been dealing with computers at every step for several decades.

    But computer technology - not the only ones that have received such rapid development in recent years. For example, spaceships plow the expanses of the universe ... though the life of an arbitrary person is far from space exploration. And the hadron collider does not interfere with the existence of most people (they launched it, the end of the world did not come, that's all).

    Another thing is biotechnology., and in general the entire field of knowledge from which their legs grow (biology and genetics in particular). Biology has already firmly taken a place in everyday life, but, to our great regret, understanding it is not yet considered necessary.

    Therefore, we created the Russian-language open online course " Molecular Biology and Genetics ", which you can still join before November 24, 2014, or take place later in free mode. Below we tell a little about it.

    Examples of misconceptions

    It’s a shame to give such a hackneyed example, but there’s nowhere to go from it: GMOs (genetically modified organisms). A very popular topic of discussion is what it is, how harmful, unnatural or justifiable it is. And it’s very correct that this topic is popular: it is worth discussing. But for this it is necessary to understand it. Or vice versa - there are topics that are not discussed, but should. For example, increased self-medication with antibiotic viral infections.

    I am writing this text now, and in the next window the Russian-language Wikipedia is open , in which it is written in black and white that antibiotics are usually used to fight viruses. This is a failure. And if one can still argue about the criteria of education, then it is already painful to look at how people do not treat each other, but cripple.

    The funny thing is that in order to avoid such annoying misconceptions, the most basic knowledge of biology is enough. No need to have a red diploma from the Faculty of Biology; you don’t even need to take long in-depth online courses like the wonderful " Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life " by Eric Lender on EdX - just a simple introductory course to refresh school knowledge and learn the basics of cell biology and genetics.

    Course format

    Molecular biology and geneticsMolecular Biology and Genetics - a massive open online course (MOOC) on the Stepic platform, consists of three weeks of short lectures in Russian, interspersed with a variety of tests. As with most other MOOC platforms, video recordings are available at any time of the day or night, tests are checked by an automated system, and thousands of people take courses.

    The content of the course corresponds to the first month of the program developed for students-programmers of the Institute of Bioinformatics , so we will be especially happy to see people from the IT sphere among students. By the way, about this and two other courses on Python and Linux there is also briefly on Habr .

    During the course, listeners are told in a non-boring way how a living cell is structured and what processes take place in it, how viruses differ from cellular organisms, how a gene works, how genetic information is organized, and much more.

    Of course, in three weeks it is impossible to consider all the applications of these topics in everyday life, so we focused on the theory. Our main goal is to give the participants a set of knowledge that will help them independently answer questions. Join now!

    Course program

    1. Cell biology
      • Biological systematics
      • Membrane structure
      • Prokaryotes: cell structure
      • Prokaryotes: Organization of Genetic Material
      • Eukaryotes: cell structure
      • Eukaryotes: the organization of genetic material
      • Nucleic acid structure
      • Genetic code
      • Squirrels
      • Biological Macromolecules
      • Mitochondria and chloroplasts
      • Viruses
    2. Molecular biology
      • Central dogma of molecular biology
      • Replication
      • Transcription
      • Splicing, alternative splicing
      • Broadcast, ribosomes
      • Protein folding
      • Prions
    3. Genetics
      • Inheritance, the role of DNA in heredity
      • Recombination
      • Hereditary diseases
      • Vertical and horizontal gene transfer
      • Mutations
      • Natural selection
      • Evolution: Micro and Macro Evolution

    Attention poll!

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Check all correct statements.

    • 5% A child with a hereditary disease cannot be born to parents who do not suffer from it 24
    • 36.7% A child with a hereditary disease can be born to non-suffering parents only if a corresponding mutation occurs in his genome 175
    • 18.4% Man is a more modern (late) result of evolution than chimpanzees 88
    • 63.8% In different parts of one organism, the set of genes in cells does not differ 304
    • 44.7% If antibiotics are stopped early, bacteria will have time to evolve to resist them 213
    • 69.3% Selection is a form of genetic modification of organisms 330
    • 2.7% Gene transfer to the human body from eating GMOs is more likely than from non-GMOs 13

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