23andMe and Udacity Launch Introductory Human Genetics Course

September 17, 2013

New Online Class Makes Genetics Education Widely Accessible and Engaging

Mountain View, Calif. – September 17, 2013 – 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, is working with Udacity, a Silicon Valley-based education start-up, to create a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on human genetics. Tales from the Genome will provide an accessible introduction to genetic concepts and technology for just about anyone.

The course is designed to be particularly helpful for high school, college and medical students, as well as health-care professionals and life-long learners. Course participants can choose to complete the entire course or just the individual lessons on the topics they find most interesting. Tales from the Genome also incorporates personal and engaging perspectives from people living with a variety of genetic traits, from color blindness to lactose intolerance.

Tales from the Genome covers the fundamental principles of inheritance, gene structure and expression, mutation and variation, development of simple and complex biological traits, human ancestry and evolution, and the acquisition and interpretation of personal genetic information. By the end of the course, students will have an enhanced understanding of both the science of genetics and the various ways genetics informs their personal health.

“Genetics is so much more than what many students experience in a traditional classroom setting. It should really be about the stories our genomes can tell, all the biological secrets wound up and packaged into efficient information storage units called chromosomes,” said Dr. Matthew Cook, the main instructor for the course. Dr. Cook earned his PhD at Duke University and completed training as a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Cook then joined the content development team at Udacity to share his passion for genetics with the world. “As individuals are becoming more actively involved in their health care and more physicians incorporate personalized medicine into their practice, genetic information is becoming a fundamental element of basic health care,” said Dr. Uta Francke, senior medical director at 23andMe and co-instructor of Tales from the Genome.

“As a result, genetics education has never been more important – particularly for individuals seeking the best possible care for themselves and their families.”

Dr. Francke is an emeritus professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at Stanford University, where she taught molecular genetics and clinical genetics. Tales from the Genome is also co-instructed by 23andMe Senior Director of Research, Dr. Joanna Mountain. Dr. Mountain previously served as a faculty member at Stanford University in the Anthropological Sciences and Genetics Departments.Tales from the Genome will be available to the public as of September 30, 2013 on Udacity.


About Udacity
Udacity is a Silicon Valley-based start-up that brings accessible, engaging and effective higher education to the world. We believe that higher education is a basic human right, and we seek to empower our students to develop their skills in order to advance their education and careers. Udacity has been at the forefront of developing new online pedagogy that bridges education and employable skills with courses in computer science, mathematics, programming, general sciences, and design at

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, the company’s mission is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has pioneered direct access to genetic information as the only company with multiple FDA clearances for genetic health reports. The company has created the world’s largest crowdsourced platform for genetic research, with 80% of its customers electing to participate. The 23andMe research platform has generated more than 180 publications on the genetic underpinnings of a wide range of diseases. The platform also powers the 23andMe Therapeutics group, currently pursuing drug discovery programs rooted in human genetics across a spectrum of disease areas, including oncology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to other therapeutic areas. More information is available at www.23andMe.com.