PM 101: Human Genomics

A primer on DNA, genes and human genetic variation | Created by Jeanette McCarthy, PhD


This is the first course in the Essential Precision Medicine core series that explores the field of genomic and precision medicine. These courses are meant for a lay audience (i.e. non-geneticist) who wishes to gain some basic genomic literacy and an understanding of the foundational concepts and vocabulary used in genomic and precision medicine.

What you'll learn

In this brief first course (total run time ~30 min) we'll explore the structure and function of the human genome, genetic variation and methods to detect variation. Our courses aim to minimize the jargon and teach precisely what is needed, and not more. If you're looking for a deep understanding of genetics, this isn't the course for you. If you want to be conversational in genomics, are currently working in a field that touches on precision medicine, ready to implement genetic testing in your medical practice, or simply want to understand the test you ordered from 23andMe, you're in the right place! 

After taking this course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Describe the relationship between DNA, genes and chromosomes
  • Distinguish different types of genetic variants and their effect on protein structure and function
  • Explain how allele frequencies are shaped in the population
  • Understand the difference between genotyping and sequencing
Jeanette McCarthy, PhD
Jeanette McCarthy, PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor, Duke University|Founder, Precision Medicine Advisors

Jeanette McCarthy is a genome scientist and leading educator in the field of precision medicine. She spent the early part of her career in industry at Millennium Pharmaceuticals before transitioning to academia. She currently holds adjunct faculty positions at Duke University and UCSF and teaches Genomic and Precision Medicine in the UC system and online. In 2014 she helped launch the first consumer-facing magazine in this field, Genome, where she served as editor-in-chief. She has been designing and delivering custom workshops and courses to international audiences of health care providers, consumers and stakeholders for years and co-authored Precision Medicine: A Guide to Genomics in Clinical Practice. (2016, McGraw Hill Education).

For feedback or questions about the course or to set up live events, contact us via email: 

You can also follow me on twitter: @genomeducator

Reviews (4)

by Maital Rasmussen

by Priti Vijayvargiya

by Tim Crowley
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by Maital Rasmussen

by Priti Vijayvargiya

by Tim Crowley

Fast paced and informative

by Edward Kiruluta
PM 101 is a great foundation for understanding precision medicine.