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Module BNS-2002:
Evolution & Genetics

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr John Mulley

Overall aims and purpose

"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution" (Dobzhansky, 1973)

The last few years have seen a major reassessment of our understanding of evolutionary theory, with the proposed introduction of an “Extended Evolutionary Synthesis” (EES). In this 20 credit 2nd year module, you will be introduced to both the historical development of the fields of evolutionary biology and genetics through the 19th and 20th centuries, and to more recent advances in genomics, epigenetics, and evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo).

You will consolidate and build on knowledge that was introduced in the first year 'Ecology and Evolution' module (DNS1003) and we will emphasise the importance of the process of evolution and its fundamental relevance to all biodiversity.

Course content

  1. Bioinformatic delineation of species (computer practical). These computer sessions will provide hands-on experience of the use of molecular data (DNA sequences) in identifying species.

  2. Evolution and genetics in the 19th century (the "Modern Synthesis"). This topic will introduce the development of evolutionary theory from antiquity to the mid-20th century, identifying key experiments and important figures in the fusion of population genetics and Darwinian theory that we know as the 'Modern Synthesis'.

  3. Do we need an "extended evolutionary synthesis"? Some have argued that the 'Modern Synthesis' is no longer fit for purpose given advances that have been made in some key fields of biological sciences, and that we need an 'Extended Evolutionary Synthesis'. This idea will be discussed with respect to two main fields: 3a. Evolutionary-developmental biology (Evo-Devo) 3b. Genomics

  4. Genetic markers, linkage mapping and QTL analysis. This final section will cover important genetic markers and technologies, and their application to selective breeding.

Assessment Criteria

C- to C+

Knowledge mostly based around lectures and practicals. Some evidence of reading at least some of the prescribed literature outside the lectures. Limited evidence of understanding and ability to critically evaluate and synthesize the various strands of information.

(C- to C+)

threshold

Basic knowledge derived from the lectures and practicals, but with no evidence of ability to critically synthesize this basic knowledge

(D- to D+)

good

Knowledge based around lectures and practicals and, for marks at the higher end of the scale, with clear evidence of reading the prescribed literature outside the lectures. The student understands some of the fundamentals and demonstrates some ability to critically evaluate and synthesize the various strands of information.

(B- to B+)

excellent

Knowledge greatly extends upon class material and demonstrates extensive evidence of extra reading. The student clearly understands the fundamentals and demonstrates an ability to critically evaluate and synthesize various strands of information.

(A- to A*)

Learning outcomes

  1. Be able to explain how contemporary bioinformatic tools can be used to delimit species and to investigate intraspecific variation from an evolutionary perspective.

  2. Have a clear understanding of the principles of evolution by natural selection and some basic theories in population genetics, as well as an appreciation of current debates in evolutionary theory and the role of embryonic development in morphological change.

  3. Appreciate the various types of genetic marker, the technology involved in their use, and their potential utility in population and ecological genetics, taxonomy, disease and evolution.

  4. Be able to integrate knowledge acquired from different sources, and to apply a problem-solving approach when presented with a hypothetical scenario.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CLASS TEST MCQ test

A 1 hour closed book multiple choice quiz, comprising between 40-50 questions. Not negatively marked.

20
EXAM End of Module Exam

A 2 hour closed book short answer examination.

40
REPORT Report

A report based around the computer practicals at the start of the module, comprising short answer questions and presentation of key figures.

40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

Lectures, revision sessions, practical/exam preparation, feedback sessions

20
Practical classes and workshops

Genetics practical exercises

Bioinformatics practical

11
Private study

Revision, writing and directed study: material in the form of illustrations, references to journal articles, reviews and book chapters will be placed on Blackboard for the students to access. There is a dedicated module TALIS reading list. Students will be directed to particular material during the course of the module, some of which will form the basis for the mid-module test. There is an expectation that elements of the directed reading will be used to support the lecture material when students are answering questions in the final examination.

169

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.

Subject specific skills

  • Appreciate the interdisciplinary and/or reciprocal nature of relationships within the subject area.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of processes through the study of relevant systems.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.
  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Prepare effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies to ensure competence in basic experimental and/or fieldwork skills.
  • Engagement with current subject developments and their application.

Resources

Resource implications for students

None

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/bns-2002.html

Reading list

Reading list on TALIS

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: