We recently sat down with Dr. Hartl at his Harvard University office to discuss his latest textbook, Essential Genetics and Genomics, Seventh Edition. At the end of a long hallway with working research laboratories on either side is Dan's comfortable corner office. Surrounded by DNA models and floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with genetics textbooks and other biological science references, he explained to us why he wrote the textbook.
"I like to write. I enjoy drafting a paragraph that I'm happy with and that I think students can understand and learn something from. I also wrote it to be able to reach a much larger number of students than the students who are at my university or sat in my classroom."
He goes on to discuss the importance of hands-on learning and working through the numerous types of problems he provides throughout the text, including the new Stop & Think problems inserted at strategic points that reinforce understanding and encourage higher-order, analytical thinking.
"It's certainly true in genetics, that you use it or lose it. In Essential Genetics and Genomics I've tried to introduce problems in multiple different ways...I find when students are challenged to solve problems with what they've learned, they retain what they learned much, much longer than if they just memorize stuff."
New to this edition is an online Readiness Assessment. It ensures students are prepared for introductory genetics and should be completed prior to diving into the material. Students simply answer the online questions to obtain a personalized score with tailored areas to focus their review. They are then directed to the color-coded Readiness Review section in the back of the text to practice the areas where study is needed.
Genetics is a complex subject that requires mathematical and basic science prerequisites. In the interview, Dr. Hartl quite simply explains the importance and value of the Readiness Assessment.
"The Readiness Assessment helps to disentangle whether it's a problem with genetics or whether it's a problem with the background."
Watch the full interview to learn more about Essential Genetics and Genomics, Seventh Edition from Dr. Daniel Hartl.