[Bioforum] Medical Genetics posted

Dr Jamie Love synapsescoukX at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 15 16:30:05 EST 2005


I have posted the last section of our Genetics course at
having replace Molecular Genetics with Medical Genetics.

These lessons in Medical Genetics are very different from previous 
lessons because they are for a different type of student and different 
type of course. Specifically, these lessons are derived from the Medical 
Genetics course I taught to medical students at a medical school! All 
those students had passed undergraduate courses, including Genetics, so 
they had a genetics education similar to what you learned from our 
previous four courses. However, due to the amount of information they 
are expected to assimilate, Medical Genetics (like most medical courses) 
is very "high density". There is no "hand holding" and students are 
expected to digest complex materials presented in a succinct manner. 
Also, the goal of Medical Genetics is to provide the student a 
foundation on which to understand more advanced courses (such as 
Pathology, Obstetrics and Pediatrics). Another, less well-publicized 
goal is to prepare the student to pass the United States Medical License 
Exams (USMLEs) which are exams foreign-trained doctors must pass in 
order to practice in the US and frequently used by US medical schools to 
gage their students' knowledge.

How does this pertain to our course? Unlike the previous materials, 
there are no Student Guides to fill in and no series of Questions and 
Answers. Instead, I have rewritten my Medical Genetics Notes into a 
series of "lessons". I put the word "lessons" in quotes because they 
read more like notes than lessons. Those of you who know nothing about 
medical school may not appreciate the value of a teacher's notes. 
"Lecture notes" are the life-blood of a medical student.

I decided to include Medical Genetics as an "add on" to our courses for 
several reasons. First, it was not too difficult turning my 30 hours of 
lecture notes into 16 additional lessons (notes). Second, this course in 
Medical Genetics starts with a fast-paced review of material so it acts 
as a good summary. Third, it gives me an excuse to include some 
additional information that you will find interesting (such as common 
techniques in molecular and cytogenetics) as well as information that 
some Genetics teachers might feel I have left out (such as linkage 
analysis). Fourth, you will get a feel for how genetics is applied.

Learning Outcomes for Medical Genetics
1. After completion of this course the student will be able to: 
reinforce basic genetic concepts learned in previous courses.
2. correctly answer the genetics questions on the United States Medical 
License Exams.
3. understand and describe standard cytogenetic methods well enough to 
appreciate their uses and limitations.
4. briefly describe common molecular genetic techniques well enough to 
appreciate their uses and limitations.
5. understand genetic linkage and mapping well enough to appreciate 
their uses and limitations.
6. appreciate the significance of genetic variation (such as blood 
typing and tissue matching) and population genetics (counseling) in 
medicine .
7. explain the causes and general pathology of all common chromosomal 
8. explain the causes and general pathology of most common single-gene 
9. draw, understand and interpret pedigrees.
10. appreciate the complexity and understand the concept of relative 
risk in multfactorial disorders
11. understand the basic genetic foundation of pathologies involved in 
many disorders that will be taught in subsequent medical courses 
(metabolic and structural disorders, hemoglobinopathies, immunology and 
12. understand the basic genetic foundation upon which treatments might 
be available.
13. use knowledge of all the above to provide genetic counselling (in a 
hypothetical situation).

So leap on over to
to complete your education in Genetics!


Dr Jamie Love
Merlin's Science Academy offers self-paced, self-learning science 
courses (Chemistry, Astronomy and Genetics)
specially written for home schoolers and other distance learners.
Visit the academy at

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