Evolutionary Genetics

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Evolutionary Genetics

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Two of GENE 221, GENE 222, ZOOL222

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    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.

    Teaching Arrangements
    There are six weeks of laboratory classes on Wednesday afternoon 2.00 to 6.00 (room G09, Biochemistry building). Students then carry out their research projects, in teams, over the remainder of the paper.

    Course Structure
    The lecture course comprises 8 topics:
    - Molecular polymorphism
    - Molecular evolution
    - Evolution of hominids
    - Population genetic theory
    - Non-Mendelian inheritance and expression
    - Biodiversity and phylogenetics
    - Phylogeography
    - Genome evolution

    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.

    Learning Outcomes
    The academic objectives of GENE 312 are to understand:
    - Molecular genetic variation among individuals
    - How genes and proteins change through time
    - Testing and applying molecular clocks
    - What different genetic markers tell us about the origins and evolution of humans
    - The theoretical population genetics underlying population change and structure
    - Epigenetics
    - Use of genetic markers to estimate biodiversity and phylogeny
    - Comparative genomic variation

    The recommended text books for GENE 312 are:
    Genetics of Populations (Hedrick 2005)
    Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution (Graur & Li 2000)
    Evolution (Barton et al. 2007)

    GENE 312 also makes extensive use of reviews and original papers from the scientific literature. PDFs of these will be placed on Blackboard.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.