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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


Read fully to understand the verified-certificate option. Join Professor Eric Lander and the MITx Biology team in an exciting learning experience available for free to all enrolled learners. The 7.00x Introductory Biology course materials are available for exploration and completion by registering as an auditor or verified-track learner, including videos, test yourself questions, and interactive problem sets. We strongly encourage you to work through the activities, towards a goal of learning biology. We have optimized the course settings for learning: instant correctness feedback after trying formative assessment problems and all content available at all times for self-paced progress. We offer a thorough and robust means of certifying learners in their mastery of the MITx introductory biology content, through the MITx 7.00x Introduction to Biology Competency Exam. This challenging option is available only to those who register for the verified-certificate track, and successful completion of this exam is the major assessment that counts toward a certificate. We recommend preparing for the Competency Exam certification using current course materials and MIT OpenCourseWare problems. The Competency Exam is offered during the last week of every course run.

7.00x is an introductory level biology course hosted by professor Eric Lander, who was one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project. The course content reflects the topics taught in the MIT introductory biology courses and many biology courses across the world. As a learner, you will first focus on the structure and function of macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins. You will discover how changes in the structure of some of these macromolecules alter their functions and what the implications of such changes have on human health. As you continue in the course, you will apply an understanding of heredity and information flow within cells to human health and disease and will learn about molecular biological techniques and their potential to impact our changing world. After you complete this course, you will have a foundation in biology that will allow you to understand the remarkable medical revolution going on today.

MITx 7.00x: Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life will let you explore the mysteries of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, recombinant DNA technology and genomics, and rational medicine. Good luck in your journey!

Taught by

Eric S. Lander and Graham Walker


4.9 rating, based on 146 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life

  • My class was taught by Dr. Eric Lander. If you don't know who that is, look him up on Wikipedia and be prepared to be impressed. It's the equivalent of taking beginning guitar lessons from Eddie Van Halen. As a teacher, Dr. Lander has the gift of…
  • Genevieve L'heureux
    If you’re looking for a class where you can simply take notes and pass tests by rote memorization, read no more: this is NOT the class for you. If you are looking to be challenged, to be engaged, and to actively have a concrete understanding of the…
  • It is an amazing course if you need to learn the fundamentals in order to take more advanced courses or if you just want to have a good grasp of biology to understand some exciting current developments that are going on. That doesn't mean it's easy,…
  • Best online course I have ever done, this course inspired me to do other MIT course. Professor Lander is Best.
  • One of the best classes in Biology that I have taken since high school! This is the first Biology class I took on a MOOC on the edX platform from MIT. I took this first in 2013 when it first came out on edX. Never thought, I would find Biology…
  • Anonymous
    I really didn't know what to expect going into this course. I started a project to do a number of core science foundational courses on edX and Coursera at the end of last year, sort of a new years resolution thing. This is the second I have completed out of the five I initially set out to do (biology, physics, psychology, sociology, and chemistry). I am actively working on all of the courses in my free time 6 days a week. MIT 700x is far and away the best course I have taken thus far and is currently my measuring stick against which I judge all online learning courses.
  • Wandalen
    Unfortunately, this course designed not to teach, but only to earn money. There is no support or feedback from people behind of the course. Nobody cares if you will get a question or will find an error. Many problems designed ungainly, lubberly, hav…
  • Anonymous
    This course was very useful and fun at the same time. The concepts taught are important but are explained in a fun way that everybody who is willing to learn and has interest in how life works can understand. Professor Lander is amazing! He teache…
  • Anonymous
    The lectures are really great, and Eric Lander is knowledgeable and engaging, but there is a disconnect between what it taught and what is tested on. It seems like what is taught is very generalized, but the problem sets and exams are exceedingly de…
  • Anonymous
    I completed my undergrad biology degree many years ago, so I audited as I wished to update my knowledge. Even though this course was created 10 years ago in 2014 that is still wonderful.. I appreciated his emphasis on history and the development of the techniques, and the processes that helps advanced the study of molecular biology, genetics and proteins. It is a lot of information delivered in great detail. Initially, it was more rigour than I planned, so I mainly watched the videos and take a short questions. I will take it again to work through the larger problem steps to help strengthen my fundamentals. I am curious how many Blue shirts the instructor does own? This is an excellent course but is very demanding.
  • Alison Newell
    I found this course to be difficult but know it was because my level of biology and chemistry study ended in grade 10 over 20 years ago. I took the course with the idea that, at the very least, I would learn some information that could help me be su…
  • Heavenly Frazier
    When I first took the course in 2016, I was excited. It was my first MOOC and was easy enough for someone who didn't have a background in biology to begin. Lander explains everything clearly, adds in a few jokes as well, and has lecture notes in case you missed anything. You can take this class despite having no idea what biology is and leave with a great idea. I dropped the class due to time but have restarted it and love it just as much. There's resources for a lot of the topics and makes you want to learn more. If you take proper notes, you can easily get all of the work correct. I'm currently on week 1 and have no problems with the course! Take this course and you will not regret it!
  • Anonymous
    This is the first course I have audited. I took it without certification test, largely out of curiosity to educate myself to better understand CRISPR technology. I am a recently retired physician, MD 1973. I learned Kreb's Cycle as a black box se…
  • Cailan Maddox
    I loved this course but sadly I only have a 3 hours left to couplet it. Its a fun course for beginners like me I'm only in middle school 6th grade but I have big plans for the future. I hope that they do this again so I can finish my course. I love how professor Landor teaches and next time I will try to stay on my course. I hope other people do to and I hope to become a great person and I can become a professorial Genetics.
  • Anonymous
    This class included very informative lectures and tutorials as well as up-to-date software to apply the concepts taught in the course. Not only did the assignments and exams reinforce the concepts I had learned in the lectures, they helped be gain a deeper understanding of what has been taught.

    The lectures and the assignments were so well put together they complemented each other in the learning process. The course included a lot of information on recent discoveries in the field of genomics and their applications in rational medicine, relevant to the lives of many today.
  • Profile image for Tamim M
    Tamim M
    If you have questions about the origin of life you will definitely find the answers. More importantly you will find out how we came to know these facts. Prof.Lander is a Musician orchestrating a piece of high quality music in the class. I wish to me…
  • Jason Galloway
    This is THE online course to take. Dr. Lander is not only an accomplished scientist, but also a gifted teacher. Also, the MIT staff does its best to make the most of the online platform and leverages technology for the course to a degree I've never seen anywhere else.

    The result is a truly amazing course that raises the bar for MOOCs in general. If you are at all interested in the subject, or are looking for a class to inspire you, take this one!
  • Anonymous
    This class is amazing;
    The material is amazing;
    E. Lander is one of the most eminent scientists of his time and litteraly teaches us "Life" in a completely laid back and enjoyable fashion.
    Thank you so much for having made this content available to everyone on Edx !
    Best regards
  • Profile image for Ehsan Shamloo
    Ehsan Shamloo
    He can simplify complex topics, because he knows and he is expert in those topics! I envy every single student who has been in your class, in person! This unique combination of history and science makes the lectures unforgettable. Thanks for sharing this course on edX.
  • Anonymous
    This is a fantastic class - I don't have any background in chemistry or biology (not even in high school) and I found it challenging but achievable. It definitely requires a lot of work to really get to grips with the material but it's presented in every possible way to help you understand it. Definitely the best course of it's type I've seen.

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