COOL CLASSES: “Perspectives in Biology: Human Genetic Diversity”

A biology course examining issues of human origins and migrations, diversity, and the relationship between different populations and ethnic groups.

Class name: “Perspectives in Biology: Human Genetic Diversity”

Taught by: Professor of Biology Philip Meneely


Here’s what Meneely had to say about his class:

The class uses information from the human genome to understand who we are as a species.  We discuss how human evolutionary history has shaped the diversity that we see among people and populations today. My hope is that students will recognize that genetic diversity has been a biological necessity for our species to survive and prosper, and that is a key aspect of what it means to be human.

I wanted to teach this class because it was human diversity that first attracted me to studying genetics, when I was a teenager or younger, long before I went to college.  Why are we like our parents, but not exactly like our parents?  What biological properties do we inherit from our ancestry, and why those properties and not others? Genetic diversity is among the most obvious qualities of humans—people look different from one another, but not completely different. Why is that? What shaped that?


See what other courses the Biology Department is offering this semester.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.

Photo (cc) Dawn Hudson