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Module

BIO2036 : Molecular Evolution and Systematics

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor John Bythell
  • Lecturer: Dr Maxim Kapralov, Dr Maria Del Carmen Montero-Calasanz
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module provides a theoretical basis and practical understanding of molecular evolution, enabling students to ‘speak the language’ of modern genomic biology and undertake basic research to generate, access, manipulate and analyse molecular genetic data to address the systematics and phylogenetic relationships of organisms across the tree of life. Practical emphasis will be on molecular identification, classification and barcoding applications, including the Barcode Of Life Data (BOLD) programme. These techniques are also applicable to forensics and environmental DNA (eDNA) studies, where the presence of species is detected from environmental samples or unrecognisable remains. The concept of barcoding will also be expanded on, introducing the use of high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) to characterise population or whole-community structure (metabarcoding or metagenomics).

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures
The molecular basis of biology and evolution
Allele dynamics and evolution in populations
DNA and amino acid sequence evolution
DNA and protein sequencing technologies, applications and experimental design considerations
Mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA: evolution and applications in barcoding
Omics technologies, applications and experimental design considerations
Molecular phylogenetics and tree construction
Patterns of molecular evolution: reticulate evolution and phylogenetic networks, domains of life, evolution by ‘molecular tinkering’
Evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes

Computer Lab Practicals (3 h) with follow-up self-study exercises
Methods of sequence analysis and phylogenetic tree construction

Laboratory Practicals
Field collection and laboratory analysis of freshwater invertebrate communities using morphological characteristics, identification and relative abundance of OTUs
DNA extraction, PCR amplification, analysis of PCR products and preparation for sequencing

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable