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Heredity: Passing Genes from Parent to Child

Self-Study Course

Part Two of the Genetics for the Behavior Consultant Series

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Presenter: Jessica Hekman, DVM, MS

Breed a Labrador retriever to a poodle and you get a labradoodle. But breed two labradoodles together and you get – well, some dogs that look pretty different from their doodle parents! Why do they look so different? Why do traits sometimes show up in animals that aren't apparent in their parents at all? What does it mean for a gene to have “dominant” and “recessive” versions and how do the different versions interact with each other?

In this course, you will learn about how genetic material is inherited. You'll start by learning about how cells mix genes from mom and dad to pass on to the offspring. You'll study dominant and recessive traits and learn how they interact with each other with sometimes surprising results. You'll compare the early history of the study of heredity with our perspective today and tackle the question of how much of a complex trait, like behavior, is inherited and how much is due to the individual's upbringing.

If you want to take a course that’s not in the old, standard, lecture format, this might be the class for you. Dr. Hekman has collected readable, engaging materials from scientists and science journalists explaining each module's topics, including both links to short and simple definitions for each topic and more in-depth pieces about their importance. She also provides a short lecture component that ties it all together and, whenever possible, applies the information to animal behavior.

This is a class in heredity. Specifically, the class will cover:

  • chromosomes
  • mitosis
  • meiosis
  • Mendelian genetics versus complex trait genetics
  • defining and studying heritability
  • dominant versus recessive versions of genes

Dr. Hekman's classes are not lecture-based. She provides a few short mini-lectures every week to give an overview of the material, but the bulk of your learning will be from reading.

Prerequisites: This class presumes no previous knowledge of genetics.

Class schedule: This is a self-study class that will begin on the sign-on date. Students will have access to the course for 60 days from the date of purchase.

Member Cost $59*
Non-Member Cost $74

*IAABC Members - log into your member account for the discount code

Online Course Cancellation Policy: Courses cannot be refunded once purchased.

About the Presenter

Jessica is a veterinarian currently pursuing a PhD in genetics. After eleven years working as a computer programmer, she decided to go back to school to research the causes of behavior problems in dogs. She received her veterinary degree from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts, where she also received a Master's degree for her work on stress behaviors in hospitalized dogs. After graduation, she completed a year-long internship specializing in shelter medicine at the University of Florida Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program. She is now enrolled in a PhD program in genetics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her lab studies a group of foxes (often known as the "Siberian silver foxes") which have been bred over many generations to be friendly to humans. Her ultimate goal is to find genetic causes of fearfulness in dogs, to work with behaviorally challenged shelter dogs, and to help people better understand the science behind dog behavior.

She lives in Urbana, Illinois with her husband and two dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @dogzombieblog or read her blog at http://dogzombie.blogspot.com.

If you have questions, email us at courses@iaabc.org.

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