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BGM2058 : Evolution

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michael Jackson
  • Lecturer: Dr Joanna Elson, Dr Mauro Santibanez Koref, Professor Robert Hirt
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to provide insight into modern evolutionary theory, enabling students to evaluate genetic information and biological mechanisms in the context of gene, population, and organism evolution. It will also give students the opportunity to build and interpret molecular phylogenetic trees, and consider the conceptual challenges and limitations of these analyses which have become central to our understanding of life on earth.

Outline Of Syllabus

In broad terms this module provides insight into genetic systems and the control of variation and speciation, and will cover the following topics:

- Evolutionary forces acting at organismal level, speciation

- Basic population genetic theory and its application

- Molecular phylogenetic methods and tree building using sequence alignments

- Phylogenetics of human origins, recent studies of mtDNA in human populations and the methods used to conduct these studies, the HIV and SARS-CoV-2 pandemics

- The origin and diversification of eukaryote cells and genomes (nuclear and organellar)

- Forced molecular evolution; making new enzymes for biotechnology

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials41:004:00Non-sync online - core content delivered via short recordings/quizzes/problem solving exercises
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00In person - delivery of core content
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Student Prep for in course written assessment and revision for exam
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading116:0016:00Additional reading/activities linked with lecture material sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00In person -computer practicals to develop data manipulation, analysis skills & apply theoretical knowledge
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00Sync online supporting each course section (discuss content/reinforce understanding/address queries)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00Extended reading to enhance understanding of lecture and practical materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Sync online overview of course rationale, structure & assessments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will provide the basic knowledge required to meet learning outcomes, which students can build upon through self-directed study. This material will be reinforced and integrated further by the online workshops and discussions.

The practicals, along with tasks within the lecture material, will enable students to apply their knowledge, formatively assess their understanding, and critically assess the evidence supporting evolutionary relationships, thereby meeting the module skills outcomes.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70in person invigilated Exam. 2 essay questions to be answered from a choice of 4.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M30Written report relating to key topic from recent literature. Includes re-analysis and publication of published data (800-1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment (written examination) is designed to test students understanding of the material delivered in the module.

The in course written report will enable students to investigate a topical area from the current literature. It will test the students' ability to analyse, present and interpret molecular phylogenetic data, and their written presentation skills.

Reading Lists