MSci Developmental Biology
Year of entry: 2022
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Course unit details:
Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
You will learn about the evolutionary process in genes and genomes, and how changes in DNA alter the structure and coding capacities of genes and genomes and hence enable populations and species to evolve. Topics will include: how the evolution of developmental processes has resulted in changes in the expression and function of highly conserved genes that control animal development, and how evolution of the genome is linked to the evolution of proteins, protein interactions, function and disease.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology||BIOL21232||Pre-Requisite||Recommended|
To convey how comparisons between genetic sequence data can be used to study the evolution of genomes, organisms and species. To explain how changes in DNA, proteins and their interactions contribute to evolutionary change. Using examples from single genes, genomes, viruses, microbes, plants and animals, demonstrate how studying evolution can help us understand complex biological systems.
Understanding of: Evolutionary process in genes and genomes. How changes in DNA alter the structure and coding capacities of genes and genomes and hence enable populations and species to evolve. How the evolution of developmental processes has resulted in changes in the expression and function of highly conserved genes that control animal development. How evolution of the genome is linked to the evolution of proteins, protein interactions, function and disease.
- Introduction to molecular and genome evolution.
- Molecular evolution - the neutral theory of molecular evolution; detecting adaptive evolution; the evolutionary history of life.
- Genome evolution - the evolution of genome structure and complexity; the central role of gene duplication in genome evolution.
- Protein evolution - evolution of proteins and function; functional constraints and specificity of protein interactions; the evolution of complexity.
- Evo-devo - the evolution of developmental genes: insights from the Hox genes and the common ancestor of bilateral animals; linking genome evolution and gene regulation to the evolution of organisms and species.
- Evolutionary systems biology - the evolution of protein interaction networks; redundancy and robustness; linking molecular evolution, genome variation and disease.
- Oral communication
- Up to ten lecture slots are set aside for student presentations of topics in molecular evolution from the primary research literature.
- Much of the unit is based around the primary research literature.
- Written communication
- Students are required to write two essay questions in the exam.
2 hour examination: 2 essay questions out of 5 (90% of marks).Course work: presentation based on primary literature (10% of marks).
Individual feedback on student presentations and the exam, and discussion session with all lecturers present. Students can also submit practice essays (from past papers) for assessment prior to the exam and receive feedback on these.
Dan Graur and Wen-Hsiung Li, Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|David Gerrard||Unit coordinator|