Evolution is the biological process that has generated the biodiversity on this planet. It explains the common ancestry of all life on earth, why all organisms use the same genetic code, and why major life forms are constrained to a relatively small number of basic body plans such as four limbs in tetrapods. Thus, the principles of evolution and population genetics underpin all biology, including ecology, medicine and agriculture. For example, it is only because rats and humans share an evolutionary past that we can use rats as models for human medical research. In this unit, you will explore the mechanisms that generate evolutionary change at both contemporary and ancient scales. You will learn how to use DNA sequences to reconstruct the relationships among organisms and to estimate evolutionary timescales. Evolution is an ongoing process, so you will use genetic techniques to discover whether populations are divided into subpopulations. By completing this unit, you will develop skills in genomics, phylogenetic analysis, population genetics and conservation genetics. You will learn about fundamental aspects of evolution such as adaptation, sexual selection, and the origins of life. You will gain general skills in computer literacy, data management and statistical genetics.
Lectures 2 hours per week 13 weeks, tutorial or laboratory 4 hours per week for 13 weeks, field trip 24 hours, once during semester.
Oral presentation in a debate format (10%), Short reports in practical classes (10%), Draft scientific report (10%), Scientific report (20%), Final exam (50%).
Students should be familiar with the structure of DNA molecules and the genetic code, understand the concept of a phylogenetic tree and have basic laboratory skills like pipetting and PCR. A knowledge of elementary statistics and algebra is assumed. Completion of intermediate units in genetics and genomics (i.e. GEGE2X01) and diversity (e.g. botany or zoology) is highly recommended.
(12cp of BIOL2XXX) or [6cp of BIOL2XXX and (MBLG2X72 or GEGE2X01 or GENE2002)]Prohibitions
BIOL3044 or BIOL3025 or BIOL3925 or BIOL3944 or PLNT3003 or PLNT3903