Tuesday, September 17, 2013

23andMe Sponsors a MOOC on Genetics

A private company, 23andMe sponsors a MOOC on genetics in association with UDACITY [Tales from the Genome]. Two of the instructors are employees of 23andMe.
You will learn about fundamental principles of inheritance, gene expression, mutation and variation, development of simple and complex biological traits, human ancestry and evolution, and the acquisition of personal genetic information. By the end of this course, you will be able to read and understand genetic information available from personal genetics services such as 23andMe.

What could possibly go wrong?

[HatTip: an unskeptical Blaine Bettinger: 23andMe and Udacity Partner to Offer A Free Online Genetics Course]


  1. I don't really see the problem -- it isn't really any different from taking courses on understanding microarrays from Affymetrix. In such courses the fact that the teachers work for the relevant company is kind of the attraction, not a drawback or something they are trying to hide. The point is to teach how to make sense of data you buy from the company.

    1. The fact that you don't see a problem boggles my mind.

    2. What exactly do you see as the problem? They are being very upfront about their connection to 23 and Me. Have you never taken a course taught by industrial folk?

  2. That's what "free" in "free course" stands for - no one forces anyone to take the course that will likely pimp 23andMe. Because it is free and non-compulsory, the conflict of interest is probably a lot lower than when a professor teaches a compulsory course using a required (and expensive) textbook written by that same professor.

  3. That last line does sound pretty Tony Robbins airport Hilton seminar-ish.

  4. I find it hard to believe that any course of this nature will help make sense of the often ambiguous information contained within the test results -- especially as (if I have understood the matter correctly) it is impossible to go beyond informed interpretation in regards to this kind of data.