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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 video, interactive problem sets, and exams. We strongly encourage you to work through the activities, towards a goal of learning biology. We have optimized the course settings for learning: instant feedback after trying problems and all content available at all times for self-paced progress. You receive feedback on correctness of answers, but the problem submissions do not count toward the grade for a certificate. Instead, we offer a thorough and robust means of certifying edX learners in their mastery of the MITx introductory biology content, through a 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 only assessment that counts toward a certificate. We highly recommend preparing for the Competency Exam certification by using the current course materials and MIT OpenCourseWare problems. The Competency Exam is offered in 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

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4.9 rating, based on 107 reviews

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

  • Ken Sellers completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    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 making...
  • Genevieve L'heureux

    Genevieve L'heureux completed this course, spending 20 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    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 concepts...
  • Javier Pizarro completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    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, if...
  • 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 successful...
  • Anonymous
    Unlike most people who took this course, I am only about to attend college in a field relating to biology. So with that in mind, as well as the fact that I have no confidence in my skills in this subject, I decided to take Professor Lander's course in...
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    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 meet...
  • Anonymous
    This is probably one of the best courses I've EVER taken in my life! Prof. Eric Lander has changed the way I see biology. I always thought there was going to be a lot of memorization, but he presented materials in such a logical and motivated way that I don't feel the need to memorize things in this course. His method also really helps student understand the material as well as how things were discovered by scientists. His jokes were great too. I loved this course!

    (It's pretty heavy on molecular biology compared to other intro bio courses, which I personally like but YMMV.)
  • Anonymous
    Amazing course. I finished medical school in 1973 and had the basic vocabulary for this course. However, Dr Lander took me to "infinitely and beyond" with the interim knowledge update of molecular biology and genetics. I would say this course is required for anyone wanting to understand the current status of recombinant DNA manipulation, not to mention the basics of public health including mRNA vaccines. This was my first on line course and I am not a natural on the computer. However, with a little work I still completed the course to my satisfaction and have already signed up for another course on DNA/genetics. Thank you Dr Lander and MIT edx for everything.
  • Anonymous
    Prof. Landers is an inspiring teacher. He is the kind of teacher who can change the trajectory of his students' ambitions and careers. This is an excellent course in every respect. I particularly appreciated the problems presented. I have few suggestions for improvement, save for additional problems, particularly those that require application of concepts taught to situations not specifically covered..
  • This course combines exciting, cutting-edge content with such a well-crafted format that even over the net it feels like a group-learning exercise. Professor Lander is probably the best of the numerous graduate and post-graduate lecturers I've experienced...
  • Wandalen completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    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, have...
  • Anonymous
    The best course I've taken so far. Take Biology into life through genetics. Eric Lander the instructor is engaging and takes his students with him. It's not a one-way class, it's a place he takes you along and you uncover, learn and get excited yourself.
  • Anonymous
    My first MOOC. It was superb! What a great thing to do to stimulate the brain while laying low because of COVID! As a retired pediatrician with a MSC in biochem pharmacology (late 70's), this was so good, I would like to be young and starting my career...
  • Anonymous
    Prof Lander is passionate, and this course touches on the most advanced, cutting edge knowledge in biology, at least at the time of filming. Not surprising, as it's MIT after all.
  • Anonymous
    I graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences in 1973 and decided to refresh myself with this class in order to pursue molecular biology and bioinformatics after a long career in IT. I have been blown away with the design and delivery of the course....
  • Estelly Nazzoni
    One of the best online courses I've taken! Unexpectedly complex matters very well explained. You saved my future in biological sciences (haha). Congratulations to Professor Lander and the team.
  • Anonymous
    Amazing course. I learned a lot. And prof. Lander, he is a great man, I am a big fan of him I love even the way he is talking.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent teacher! Excellent course! Starting with almost no knowledge in the field, you end up with an impressive idea of what is currently done in biology research and how.
  • Finbarr P
    I found 7.00x to be a great learning experience. The reasons I took it were to learn more about cancer biology and treatments as I am in recovery from leukaemia, and to understand more about viruses due to the pandemic. I also wanted to get a deeper understanding...
  • Anonymous
    Having received a degree from MIT (in 1979!) I had specific expectations for the course - both the lectures and the problem sets. I am gratified to report that both exceeded my expectations. Dr. Lander is an excellent teacher, engaging the class, explaining...

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