One of the things that I wanted to do in 2012 was to learn more about genetics and the process of evolution. I never had much of an interest in biology until I took a course by (Dr Klaus-Peter Zauner) at university on how engineering principles can be applied to, and indeed derived from, biological processes. Fascinated by the fact that we’re ever closer to understanding the systems and pathways that control growth and interactions within the body, and the knowledge that we are already able to design systems to perform tasks for us, I now see biology as one of the ultimate goals for engineering. I would highly recommend anybody who has a computer science or engineering degree/background to read into this. As a software engineer I’m constantly learning new things. There’s always something interesting to read or learn about… but it’s usually not an entirely new frontier. Biological computation is just that.
In the interests of learning, I recently completed a 10 week free online course called the Introduction to Genetics and Evolution by Professor Mohamed Noor and his assistants at Duke University in North Carolina. It equated to 1–2 hours a week so was not too much of a commitment, but was a lot of fun. The course is running again shortly and I would thoroughly recommend it to anybody willing to learn.
Here’s an example of a species we studied called the Lampsilis Mussel when studying camouflage and the extend that evolution can be observed in the wild. Just a fascinating taster of some of the course material!