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BGM2058 : Evolution

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michael Jackson
  • Lecturer: Professor T. Martin Embley, Dr Joanna Elson, Dr Ian Wilson
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. To provide an insight into modern evolutionary theory to allow students to evaluate many of the mechanisms and concepts encountered in the other modules in relation to the biology of whole organisms and populations.
2. To explain the mosaic nature of eukaryotic genomes.
3. To provide information on the difficulties in preparing phylogenic trees.
4. To explain how molecular evolutionary theory is applied in forced evolution.

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:

modern evolutionary theory and its applications;
forced molecular evolution, to generate new enzymes for biotechnology;
molecular phylogeny;
phylogenetic relationships;
generation of phylogenetic trees from sequence alignments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion181:0018:00Student Prep for group presentation.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00Online practical. Students to answer set questions.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Seminar for group presentation.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1149:00149:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will cover the knowledege outcomes of the module and will be reinforced by the seminar sessions. The ‘other’ teaching and learning methods - ‘presentation’ - will allow students to practise presentation skills on topic or paper. Other skills outcomes are developed through practical sessions which are computer based and will be assessed using a short online questionnaire/assessment.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A8030% Short answer format questions (30 minutes); 70% Written Essay format, 2 questions to be answered from a choice of 4 (90 minutes)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M5Assessed Practical
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Presentation
Prof skill assessmnt2M5Paper critique - 500 word limit
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment (written examination) is designed to test students understanding of the material delivered in the module, and will include some problem solving questions. The presentation will test the student’s ability to present and discuss material with classmates, and will be marked accordingly. The practical assessment will test the students ability to analyse sequence data to produce phylogenetic trees using a range of freely available software. The paper critique will assess the students ability to summarise the content of a scientific paper in language which is accessible to a lay audience and to convey the key points relevant to the larger body of research under discussion.

Reading Lists