Bi/Ge 105 | Evolution


The objective of this course is to use broad brush strokes to paint a picture of modern thinking on evolution, both of living organisms and the planet they inhabit. The first part of the course will take a decidedly historical and naturalistic perspective, focusing on the timeline of evolution (based on the geological record of fossils and geochemical signatures) and how the natural history of both the inanimate and animate worlds in the hands of Darwin and Wallace (and their distinguished predecessors) led to the articulation of the tenets of evolution by natural selection as well as a picture of a dynamic Earth. This will be followed by an examination of the emergence of modern genetics which gave us a molecular picture of variation. Next, we will undertake a study of the forces of evolution such as selection, drift, migration and mutation and how population genetics provides a quantitative framework for examining the interplay between these forces. With these preliminaries in hand, we will then turn to a variety of case studies in evolution that illustrate the principles of the subject with some of the remarkable studies that have been made to test these ideas. We will close with a discussion of the great human experiment in which human activities have rewritten the story of evolution.

Where and When

Lectures take place Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00pm - 2:25pm in Broad 100.

There is a lab section every Tuesday night from 7:00pm - 10:00pm; location varies and will be announced in advance.

Tom will host occasional coding tutorials on Thursdays from 7:00pm - 9:00pm in Broad 200. These are optional sessions that will bring you up to speed with concepts needed for the computational portions of homework assignments. They will be announced ahead of time.

Office hours take place on the following schedule (and are additionally always available by appointment):

Day Time TA Location
Monday 2:30pm - 3:30pm Kian Broad 156
Tuesday 9:00am - 10:00am Philip North Mudd 102
Tuesday 1:45pm - 2:30pm Rob Broad 159


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