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BIO2008 : Evolutionary and Population Genetics

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide a sound basis to the understanding of the principles of, and experimental procedures involved in the science of evolutionary processes at the population level and basic population genetics.
To introduce and expand on theories such as adaptation by natural selection and mechanisms of speciation.
To build on the introductory knowledge of numerical and statistical analyses.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will be provided with a sound basis to the understanding of the principles of, and experimental procedures involved in, the science of evolution and ecological genetics at the population level. It will be approached from the viewpoint of general biology: ecology and behaviour are combined with population genetics to better understand the evolution of species. It uses some basic modelling and both animal and plant examples. The examples/exercises are relevant to other modules taken by the students, in an ecological and applied context. A main feature of the module is a collection of small problem solving (numerical/statistical) exercises, seminars and practicals that illustrate the lecture material.

• Genetic variation: introduction to phenotype/ genotype, quantitative/qualitative variation, how to measure variation, and what are alleles
• Organisation of genetic variation: random mating and Hardy Weinberg equilibrium and population structure
• Sources of variation: mutation, recombination and migration, loss of variation: selection and genetic drift
• Quantitative genetic variation, heritability and selection
• Molecular population genetics and evolution
• Mating system, inbreeding depression, hybridisation
• Population fragmentation, population history, phylogeography
• Adaptive significance of sex and selfish genetic elements
• Natural and balanced selection and clines

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:306:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Seminars. Application of stats. Support for numerical exercises.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical31:003:00Computer practical
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice52:0010:00Calculations homework / Blackboard tests to check homework understanding
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study117:0017:00Seminar preparation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0012:00Lecture follow up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:0026:00Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce the basic material and the seminars, practicals and homework exercises/tests bring this into practice to ensure that the students learn from the lectures and are able to apply it to real situations.

Giving 3 practicals, 1 computer based practical and 5 homework exercises ensures that students come into contact with a variety of research techniques and different skills are used, such as arithmetics and IT skills. Seminars supply extensive feedback on exercises and Blackboard tests. These also help prepare the students for the exam.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1202A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M20Homework exercises (5 x 4%), includes analysing practical results.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module conveys theoretical material illustrated by a wide variety of examples. The best way of learning this material, which is generally considered very difficult, is by following each subject by a practical/paper exercise. These by themselves introduce a variety of research methods to the students as they take a variety of forms, from field collection of material, simple laboratory experiments, to mathematical exercises and computer simulations. Comprehension of lectures and work undertaken during laboratory classes / paper exercises is tested by taking a Blackboard test. The exam tests student's knowledge and skills.

The resit tests the understanding of the lectures and work undertaken during the laboratory classes.

Reading Lists