Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life
Explore the secret of life through the basics of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, recombinant DNA, genomics and rational medicine.
About this Course
*Note - This is an Archived course*
This is a past/archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check for reruns of this course.
7.00x is an introductory level biology course hosted by professor Eric Lander, who was one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project. The course content reflects the topics taught in the MIT introductory biology courses and many biology courses across the world. As a student, you will first focus on the structure and function of macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins. You will discover how changes in the structure of some of these macromolecules alters their functions and what the implications of such changes have on human health. As you continue in the course, you will apply an understanding of heredity and information flow within cells to human health and disease and will learn about molecular biological techniques and their potential to impact our changing world. After you complete this course, you will have a foundation in biology that will allow you to understand the remarkable medical revolution going on today.
Students will complete this course in 14 weeks. Each week features a series of lecture sequences that are supported by interactive video tutorials and interspersed exercises or problems. Students will work on a homework assignment or exam each week. The course will conclude with a comprehensive final exam. Additionally, for teachers of science, we have forged a collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to facilitate understanding of challenging content and help with practical classroom applications of the courseware. Visit NSTA/MITx for details. 7.00x – The Secret of Life will let you explore the mysteries of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, recombinant DNA technology and genomics, and rational medicine. We are excited to take this journey with you!
Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.
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Eric S. Lander
Eric Lander is a Professor of Biology at MIT and Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. He is the President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Lander was one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project. He and his colleagues are using these findings to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the basis of human diseases. Lander also serves as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which directly advises the White House on matters of science and technology.
Graham Walker is a Professor of Biology at MIT and an HHMI Professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Walker lab focuses on the regulation and mechanism of action of proteins involved in DNA repair and mutagenesis and in other cellular responses to DNA damage.
Dr. Michelle Mischke is an Instructor in the Department of Biology at MIT. She serves as a course coordinator for 7.00x.
Brian White is an educator, developer, and educational researcher. He teaches Introductory Biology at the University of Massachusetts of Boston. He developed many of the software tools used in 7.00x and focused on the creation of problems.
Mary Ellen Wiltrout
Mary Ellen Wiltrout earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at MIT, taught molecular biology at Harvard University, and returned to MIT and the Broad Institute to serve as a course coordinator for 7.00x.
High school level biology and chemistry recommended. A desire to learn is required.
Nothing. All edX courses are free. The lectures, problem sets, deep dives, lab videos and textbook are all available online.
Yes. Online learners who achieve a passing grade in 7.00x will earn for free a certificate of mastery. These certificates will indicate you have successfully completed the course, but will not include a specific grade. Certificates will be issued by edX under the name of MITx.
We suggest using the Molecular Biology of the Cell textbook as supplemental reading if you need additional resources. We will list chapters and sections most relevant to each learning sequence.
Alberts et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th edition, Garland Science, 2002.
A searchable version of the text is freely available at: NIH.gov.
After the release of the learning sequences for the week, you can watch the lectures at any time.
Yes, you can register at any time between the start date and the end date. To obtain the certificate, however, you will have to get at least 60% of the total available points for the class.
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