Among the biological sciences, genetics has had the most rapid development in this century. On the one hand, it has pushed the analysis of biological structure to the molecular level; on the other hand, it represents the synthesis parameter for all other biological sciences. Appreciation of genetics came late to Italy, and major developments did not occur until after World War II. Genetics, however, because of its broad interests, ranging from systematics to embryology, evolution, microbiology, clinical medicine, animal husbandry and agronomy, runs the risk of being dismembered into separate fields and having its methodological features confused. The School of Genetics aims to focus annually on a key topic in modern genetics in order to attract students’ interest in different but interconnected subjects. The choice of topics is not dictated by a single criterion: topics widely studied in Italy may be covered to foster contacts between students of different backgrounds and pursue a unity of views; topics widely developed abroad but neglected in Italy may be proposed to promote interest in our country (in this case by inviting foreign scientists to give lectures); recent techniques and methodologies may be presented to promote their dissemination. Finally, topics of practical interest can be covered to solicit exchange between theoretical and experimental researchers, usually neglected, especially in Italy. Last but not least, the school aims to revive interest in the cultural implications of this science, which, by dealing with topics such as biological genesis or interpersonal relationships within natural populations, provides interesting paradigms for the social and moral sciences.