MSE 2212 Genealogy ~ all in YOUR family

The biology of heredity and kinship

Who are you …and who are “your people” and where did they, and you, come from: what is your family history? How do you go about finding your roots? 

This MSE course tackles these exciting questions. It provides an introduction to conceptual and factual foundations of genetics and associated areas of biology through focus on genealogy and human family trees.

Lectures cover principles about the genetic basis of heredity, including DNA and its replication; meiosis and Mendelian genetics; and inheritance of genetic traits, including hereditary diseases. Lectures additionally address broader applications of information about genetic variation and kinship within conservation biology and behavioral ecology.

Laboratory work focuses on students analyzing results of test of their own DNA and construction of their family tree through combined genealogical and genetic analysis. Other laboratory exercises explore genetic principles; field trips investigate the importance of genetics in Zoo management, and connections between human longevity and genealogy.

Interdisciplinary links throughout the course include consideration of historical events as well as sociological, geographical, and other influences on each student’s ancestors and collateral relatives.

Student “Family Story” outcomes, Spring 2022

Student “Family Story” outcomes, Fall 2021

Student “Family Story” outcomes, Spring 2020

Informed consent

Because students in the course will need to have their DNA tested, it is imperative that each person considering the course understand and acknowledge various aspects in advance. All prospective students should visit these pages before registering: 

Do you have questions or concerns as a prospective student in MSE 2212? Please do not hesitate to contact us ( for more information. 

Page last updated: 11 Dec 2021