Genetics

The information in genomes provides the instruction set for producing each living organism on the planet. While we have a growing understanding of the basic biochemical functions of many of the individual genes in genomes, understanding the complex processes by which this encoded information is read out to orchestrate production of incredibly diverse cell types and organ functions, and how different species use strikingly similar gene sets to nonetheless produce fantastically diverse organismal morphologies with distinct survival and reproductive strategies, comprise many of the deepest questions in all of science. Moreover, we recognize that inherited or acquired variation in DNA sequence and changes in epigenetic states contribute to the causation of virtually every disease that afflicts our species. Spectacular advances in genetic and genomic analysis now provide the tools to answer these fundamental questions.

Members of the Department of Genetics conduct basic research using genetics and genomics of model organisms (yeast, fruit fly, worm, zebrafish, mouse) and humans to understand fundamental mechanisms of biology and disease. Areas of active investigation include genetic and epigenetic regulation of development, molecular genetics, genomics and cell biology of stem cells, the biochemistry of micro RNA production and their regulation of gene expression, and genetic and genomic analysis of diseases in model systems and humans including cancer, cardiovascular and kidney disease, neurodegeneration and regeneration, and neuropsychiatric disease. Members of the Department have also been at the forefront of technology development in the use of new methods for genetic analysis, including new methods for engineering mutations as well as new methods for production and analysis of large genomic data sets.

The Department sponsors a graduate program leading to the PhD in the areas of molecular genetics and genomics, development, and stem cell biology. Admission to the Graduate Program is through the Combined Programs in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS).

In addition to these basic science efforts, the Department is also responsible for providing clinical care in Medical Genetics in the Yale New Haven Health System. Clinical genetics services include inpatient consultation and care, general, subspecialty, cancer and prenatal genetics clinics, and clinical laboratories for cytogenetics, DNA diagnostics, and biochemical diagnostics. The Department sponsors a Medical Genetics Residency program leading to certification by the American Board of Medical Genetics. Admission to the Genetics Residency is directly through the Department.