Theoretical and molecular population genetics. Evolution of genes and proteins and molecular aspects of biodiversity. Molecular evolutionary genetics of hominids. Molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography. Comparative genomics.
GENE 312 is designed for students majoring in the biological sciences. Most of our students are Genetics or Zoology majors, but the paper can be a useful adjunct for those reading Anthropology, Biochemistry, Botany, Ecology, Law, Mathematics or Microbiology. The paper examines population and evolutionary genetic theory in association with empirical data. A central focus is the way genes and genomes change through time and the evolutionary information that they contain. The paper is particularly appropriate for those interested in evolution, systematics or conservation biology. The lecture course is complemented by a laboratory course that teaches relevant research skills, after which students carry out a research project.
|Paper title||Evolutionary Genetics|
|Teaching period||Second Semester|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,059.15|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$4,914.00|
- Two of GENE 221, GENE 222, ZOOL 222
- Schedule C
- In approved cases, another 200-level biological sciences paper may be substituted for one of GENE 221, 222, ZOOL 222.
- The formal prerequisites are TWO of GENE 221, GENE 222 and ZOOL 222. However, we are keen to attract good students from diverse backgrounds, so good performance in 200-level papers across the sciences will be considered as alternatives.
- More information link
- Teaching staff
Convenor: Professor Graham Wallis (Department of Zoology)
Other Teaching staff: Dr David Orlovich (Department of Botany), Professor Iain Lamont (Department of Biochemistry), Dr Nic Rawlence (Department of Zoology), Dr. Andrew Cridge (Department of Biochemistry).
- Paper Structure
The lecture course comprises 8 topics:
- Polymorphism, neutral theory, selection, drift, molecular evolution, molecular basis of adaptation and speciation
- Evolution of hominoids and hominids, human phylogeography and hybridisation
- Genome evolution
- Biodiversity and Phylogenetics
- mtDNA, ancient DNA, population demographics, phylogeny, conservation, ancestry testing
- Genetics and evolution of sex determination
The lecture course is complemented by four formal lab classes. Students then develop a group research project, including the following phases: proposal, literature review, data collection, data analysis, written and oral reporting.
- Teaching Arrangements
- There are six weeks of laboratory classes. Students then carry out their research projects, in teams, over the remainder of the paper.
The recommended text books for GENE 312 are:
Genetics of Populations (Hedrick 2005)
Molecular and Genome Evolution (Graur 2016)
GENE 312 also makes extensive use of reviews and original papers from the scientific literature.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship,
Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research,
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- To develop a knowledge and understanding of the principles of evolutionary genetics
All parts of the course contribute to this goal. We aim to increase conceptual understanding through discussion of material in both lecture and lab time.
- To provide the basic skills for investigating the evolutionary genetics of plants and animals through application of appropriate theoretical and molecular genetic techniques
Four lab sessions provide these skills in the first weeks of the course, and include DNA, protein, morphological and in silico analyses of populations. Computer labs are used for simulations, analyses, problems and bioinformatics.
- To develop analytical and problem-solving skills
Problems are given with lecture and practical material in appropriate parts of the course. Worked answers and tutorials are provided after you have had the chance to solve them. A lab tutorial session is given to provide practice at answering such problems The examination uses problems as an assessment medium. The exam is worth 60%.
- To encourage critical assessment of scientific literature
We use research papers in lectures as tools for reinforcing concepts. We encourage critical interpretation of contents and we emphasise the scientific method. Additionally, you are expected to consider the relevant literature in your research project, particularly the literature review.
- To develop the ability to ask a simple research question that is soluble through the application of skills learnt in practicals
You are encouraged to think of a project for yourselves based on techniques learnt in the skills labs. A list of some possible projects is given. You are expected to develop an idea and design an experiment through reading, and talking with colleagues and staff. You will write a short research proposal and literature review which are worth a total of 15%. The project itself encourages teamwork in groups of 2-4.