<QGGA MSc Evolutionary Genetics

Evolutionary Genetics: Topics

Molecular Evolution

Paul Sharp

This specialist course builds on lectures in population genetics in PGBI11001 and examines the use of modern molecular genetics methods to study evolution. There is a particular emphasis on applications to study the origins and evolution of human pathogens (bacteria and viruses). This course is a requirement for the MSc in Evolutionary Genetics.

Course Structure: The course consists of 10 x 3hr sessions, comprised of lectures, discussions, and problem sessions.

Session Topic
1 Introduction to Evolutionary Genetics
2-3 Identifying the effects of natural selection on gene sequences
4-6 Evolutionary genetics of bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer and the nature of bacterial species. The rates and timescale of bacterial evolution. Codon usage bias. The origins of pathogens, including E.coli and plague bacteria
7-9 Evolutionary genetics of viruses. The rates and timescale of virus evolution. The origins and evolution of human viruses, including Herpes viruses, AIDS viruses and Influenza viruses
10 Conclusions

Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Jacob Moorad

This course covers the application of quantitative genetic analyses to key questions in evolutionary biology, with the aim of dissecting the processes of natural selection, microevolution within populations and the maintenance of genetic diversity.

Course Structure: The course consists of 10 x 3hr sessions, comprised of lectures, paper discussions, and computer practicals

Session Topic
1 The Price Equation and the response to selection. Univariate measurement of natural selection for quantitative traits
2 Nonlinear and multivariate selection
3 Heritability, genetic correlations, and multivariate phenotypic evolution
4 What is relative fitness? The "invisible fraction". Sexual selection
5 Maintenance of genetic variance. Effects of a variable environment: phenotypic plasticity, reaction norms, and genotype-by-environment interactions
6 Animal models
7 Social evolution: Multi-level selection and indirect genetic effects
8 Genomic approaches to studying microevolution
9 Senescence and ageing
10 Inbreeding and inbreeding depression

Evolutionary Genetics Overview