Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

GENE312 Evolutionary Genetics

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
Paper code GENE312
Subject Genetics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,059.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,914.00

^ Top of page

Prerequisite
Two of GENE 221, GENE 222, ZOOL 222
Schedule C
Science
Notes
In approved cases, another 200-level biological sciences paper may be substituted for one of GENE 221, 222, ZOOL 222.
Eligibility
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.
Contact

genetics@otago.ac.nz

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.
Textbooks

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, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
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.

^ Top of page

Timetable

Second Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41

Practical

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41

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.

This 18 -point 300-level paper is designed for students majoring in the biological sciences. Most of our students are Genetics majors, but the paper is relevant to those reading Anthropology, Biochemistry, Botany, Ecology, Law, Mathematics, Microbiology and Zoology. The central focus of the paper is the underlying genetic basis of population differentiation, adaptation and evolutionary change. The paper emphasises principles in population and evolutionary genetics, which are crucial to interpretation of genomic data.

Paper title Evolutionary Genetics
Paper code GENE312
Subject Genetics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,159.70

^ Top of page

Prerequisite
Two of GENE 221, GENE 222, ZOOL 222
Schedule C
Science
Notes
In approved cases, another 200-level biological sciences paper may be substituted for one of GENE 221, 222, ZOOL 222.
Eligibility
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.
Contact

genetics@otago.ac.nz

Teaching staff

Convenor: Professor Graham Wallis (Department of Zoology)
Other Teaching staff: Dr David Orlovich (Department of Botany), Dr Matt Larcombe (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.
Textbooks

The recommended text books for GENE 312 are:

Allendorf, FW et al 2013 Conservation and the Genetics of Populations (2nd edn). Wiley-Blackwell.

Graur, D 2016. Molecular and Genome Evolution. Sinauer.

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, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
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

Three 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

Two tutorial sessions are given to provide practice at answering problems. Worked answers are provided after you have had the chance to solve them. 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.

^ Top of page

Timetable

Second Semester

Location
Dunedin
Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system
Blackboard

Lecture

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41

Practical

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend
A1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41