Molecular Evolution


Molecular Evolution MGE.512 3 Credits
Course Logistics

This twenty-weeks long course is designed to lay foundations of molecular evolutionary methods, including cladistics and phylogenetic systematics.

Reading
One particularly exciting feature of our course is the free in-course textbook materials. This textbook is not required, but it should be helpful to students who want to read more detailed explanations or additional examples or who want to delve more deeply into topics that fascinate them. Please note that access to the textbook is available only for the duration of the course.  

Exercises

Short ungraded exercises will occasionally be embedded into lectures. Each lecture will be followed by ungraded exercises. Answers to these exercises will be given and explained after you reply to the questions. These exercises do not introduce new material, but they enable you to check your understanding of the lectures. If you miss too many of the exercises after a lecture, then you might want to listen to that lecture again.

Time Commitment

You should expect to spend on about 3 hours per week taking the lectures, another 2 hours per week doing the exercises, and about 1 hour on each quiz. You might want to spend additional time doing the reading and participating in the discussion forums.

Note: This course is combined with Computational Biology and EvoDevo, and therefore, this page is not being updated.



Syllabus

Unit I FB

Emergence of evolutionary thoughts: Lamarckism, Darwinism, Concepts of variation, adaptation, struggle, fitness and natural selection, Mendelism, Spontaneity of mutations, Theories of phyletic gradualism Vs. punctuated equilibria, Modern evolutionary synthesis. Concept of Oparin and Haldane, Experiment of Miller (1953).

 COMBINED WITH EVODEVO

Unit II MK

Evolution of DNA, evolution of DNA sequence. Origin of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell. Origin of life and unicellular evolution: Origin of basic biological molecules, Abiotic synthesis of organic monomers and polymers, The first cell, Evolution of prokaryotes, Origin of eukaryotic cells, Evolution of unicellular eukaryotes, Anaerobic metabolism, Photosynthesis and aerobic metabolism.

 

Unit III FB

Paleontology and evolutionary history: The evolutionary time scale, Eras, periods and epoch, Major events in the evolutionary time scale, Origins of unicellular and multicellular organisms, Stages in primate evolution including Homo sapiens.

  COMBINED WITH EVODEVO

Unit IV FB

Molecular evolution: Concepts of neutral evolution, Molecular divergence and molecular clocks, Molecular tools in phylogeny, Classification and identification; Origin of new genes and proteins; Gene duplication and divergence. Forces of molecular evolution.

  COMBINED WITH COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY

Unit V MK

Evolutionary mechanisms: Populations, gene pool and gene frequency, Hardy-Weinberg law, Concepts and rate of change in gene frequency through natural selection, migration and random genetic drift, Adaptive radiation and modifications, Isolating mechanisms, Speciation, allopatricity and sympatricity, Convergent evolution, Significance of sex in evolution, Co-evolution.Populations, gene pool and gene frequency, Hardy-Weinberg law, Concepts and rate of change in gene frequency through natural selection, migration and random genetic drift, Adaptive radiation and modifications, Isolating mechanisms, Speciation, allopatricity and sympatricity, Convergent evolution, Significance of sex in evolution, Co-evolution.

 

Suggested Reading:

1. Darwin, C.R. (1911). On the origin of species by means of natural Selection, or preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. Hurst Publishers, UK.

2. Dawkins, R. (1996). The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company Jones and Bartlett

Publishers.

3. Futuyma, D.J. (2009). Evolution. Sinauer Associates Inc. USA.

4. Hake, S. and Wilt, F. (2003). Principles of Developmental Biology. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, USA.

5. Hall, B.K. and Hallgrimsson, B. (2007). Strickberger’s Evolution. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, India.

6. Lewin, R. (2004). Human Evolution - An Illustrated Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, USA.

7. BAST, F. 2015. Tutorial on Phylogenetic Inference Part-1. Resonance 20 (4) 360-367 PDF

 

Schedule
Mondays second hour and Tuesdays 3rd hour at Room No. 11

Upcoming quiz and assignment
First quiz is expected to be out in last week of September, 2015


Lecture contents




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