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IGB’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Genomics for Law

Genomics for Law

The IGB has partnered with the College of Law to offer Genomics for Law, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which provides a unique framework to review the history and basics of genomics research as well as explore how genomics has, and will continue to, interact with the law. The course will explore the implications of genomics research on law, as well as law's influence and implications on genomics research, as it pertains to the following topics: Genomics and criminal law, genomics and criminal procedure, forensic genomics, intellectual property protection and biotechnology, GMO policy, law, and regulation, genomics and tort law, genomics and privacy law, and legal and ethical issues in genomics.

This course can be taken to fulfill continuing legal education (CLE) credits for practicing lawyers. 9.5 MCLE hours have been approved in Illinois. For more information and to register for the course, visit


Genomics: Decoding the Universal Language of Life


The IGB is pleased to offer “Genomics: Decoding the Universal Language of Life." This beginner level course contains 6 weeks of study and encompasses topics drawn from the IGB’s expansive research portfolio such as how genes work, why microbes play such an important role chemically, how DNA sequencing can be used to predict risk to health and wellness, and what differences exist in genetically modified plants.

IGB Director and Swanlund Professor of Entomology Gene Robinson is the main instructor for this course. In addition, each module features several guest instructors. These guest instructors come from diverse fields of study—biology, physics, computer science, and many others—and pursue diverse research goals, yet they share a common interest in genomic approaches and technologies.
See all the enrollment options available through Coursera and sign up for the course at


Emergence of Life

How did life emerge on Earth? How have life and Earth co-evolved through geological time? Is life elsewhere in the universe? Take a look through the 4-billion-year history of life on Earth through the lens of the modern Tree of Life.

Emergence of Life MOOC

The pioneering work of Professor Carl Woese on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus has revolutionized our understanding of the fundamental structure and evolutionary relatedness of all living entities on Earth. This has resulted in a new "Tree of Life" and a first ever understanding of what life looked like before the base of the root of the Tree had evolved.

This course will evaluate the entire history of life on Earth within the context of our cutting-edge understanding of the Tree of Life. This includes reconnaissance of ancient primordial life before the first cell had evolved, the entire ~4-billion-year development of single- and multi-celled life through the lens of the Tree of Life, and the influence of Earth system processes (meteor impacts, volcanoes, ice sheets) on shaping and structuring the Tree.  This synthesis emphasizes the universality of the emergence of life as a prelude for the search for extraterrestrial life.

Please join this unique 8-week journey through history, evolution, geologic change, and discovery of the universality of Life.

Registration, course information and a 2-minute video overview are available at