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HMX Pro Genetics
Genetics – Essentials

Get essential genetics knowledge to prepare for the future of health care.

The way we diagnose and treat diseases is changing, with new technologies enabled by a deeper understanding of the human genome and its relationship to health and disease. This shift has broad implications for those who work in health care and related areas.

HMX Pro Genetics – Essentials covers the basic concepts required to understand the field of genetics today, with an emphasis on explaining how variation in DNA sequence occurs, is inherited, and can lead to disease.

This foundational course prepares participants for more in-depth investigation of how genetics is changing health care, including advanced topics like cancer genomics and precision oncology and genetic testing and sequencing technologies.

Course Topics

Overview of Genetics and Genomics

  • Introduction to the Genomic Revolution
  • The Human Genome

The Central Dogma and Genetic Variation

  • Representations of DNA
  • Central Dogma Overview
  • Transcription
  • Translation
  • The Central Dogma and Genetic Variation

Mendelian Inheritance of Disease

  • Meiosis and Inheritance
  • Autosomal Inheritance
  • Sex-linked Inheritance
  • Mitochondrial Inheritance
  • Pedigree Analysis
  • Penetrance and Expressivity

Genetic Variation and Architecture

  • Genetic Variation and Architecture
  • Whole Chromosome Aneuploidy
  • Structural Variation
  • Unstable Repeats
  • Common Complex Traits
  • Genetic Testing


  • The Promise of Genetics in Human Health and Disease
Download the Genetics – Essentials course outline

Course Instructors

Christine DeGennaro, PhD

Christine DeGennaro, PhD

Lecturer in Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Robert Green, HMX Genetics instructor

Robert C. Green, MD, MPH

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Geneticist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Director, Genomes2People Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Carrie Blout, HMX Genetics instructor

Carrie Blout, MS, CGC, LGC

Senior Genetic Counselor, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

More Information

Frequently asked questions

Who should take this course?

This course is designed for professionals in health care, life sciences, and related industries who want to have a better understanding of key genetics concepts for their work.

Note: We also offer HMX Fundamentals Genetics for those seeking a broader overview of the field; we recommend reviewing topic outlines and choosing the most appropriate course for your needs. It is not recommended to take both courses as there is some overlap in topics. The Essentials course is designed specifically for professional learners, and is focused on the key knowledge needed to succeed in the advanced HMX Pro courses.

What do participants need to know to succeed in this course?

We recommend knowledge of basic chemistry, biology, and physics – no advanced knowledge is required.

What is the time commitment?

Most people can expect to spend around 10–20 hours total, but this depends on your baseline knowledge, how carefully you take notes, and how seriously you take the assessments. Lessons from the courses are released weekly and remain available until the courses end, so you can work at your own pace. There is a final exam at the end of each course that can be taken any time during the final exam period.

Can participants earn certificates from Harvard Medical School?

There are two certification levels, based on participant scores:

  • Certificate of Achievement
  • Certificate of Completion

What Learners Say

Dr. Mariam Fida

Mariam Fida

Medical geneticist

“It was amazing the way all the animations were conducted, and how they show concepts in a very basic, nice way.”

Angeli Ambayya

Angeli Ambayya


“There was a very good arrangement of the lessons; the structure of the course was very good.”