Genes, heredity and disease

Created by Jeanette McCarthy, PhD


This is the second course in the Essential Precision Medicine core series that explores the field of genomic and precision medicine. These courses are meant for a lay person (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 course (total run time ~40 min) we'll explore the genetic basis of diseases. We’ll focus on two main types of genetic diseases: Classical rare Mendelian (monogenic) diseases and common (polygenic) diseases. We’ll explore characteristics of both types of genetic diseases, break down GWAS studies, and touch on newer polygenic risk scores.

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:

  • Distinguish features of monogenic vs polygenic diseases
  • Understand how GWAS work
  • Discern the different information provided by p values and odds ratios
  • Appreciate the value and limitations of polygenic risk scores
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).

Reviews (2)

by Mike Thompson

by Priti Vijayvargiya

by Mike Thompson

by Priti Vijayvargiya