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Classics in Evolutionary Biology I

Instructor: Nick Barton

Teaching Assistant: Christelle Fraisse

Description


Syllabus

We will provide students with an in depth introduction to a variety of topics in evolutionary biology:

          1. Evolutionary Synthesis

          2. Mutation and Genetic variability

          3. Genetic Variation

          4. Neutral Evolution

          5. Recombination and evolution

          6. Testing for selection


Prerequisites

Some knowledge of evolutionary biology helpful – for example, from the “Introduction to Evolutionary Biology” taught by Beatriz Vicoso and Sylvia Cremer (Fall 2016).


Teaching format

The first meeting each week is an introduction (by the instructors) to the topic of the week followed by the distribution of readings for the next week. The second meeting consists of presentations by the students of the readings (from the previous week) followed by an open discussion. In the weekly recitation period, students will evaluate each other’s writings, address unanswered questions, and explore related concepts on the topic.


Course Requirements/Exams

The requirements of the course is that each student:

          i. Attends every class prepared and ready to discuss the readings;

          ii.  Prepare and submit a 500 word essay (approx. 1 page; 5 essays in total) giving a critical review of the papers discussed in each week; and

          iii. Prepares and delivers 1 presentation on 1 paper included on the reading list and submits an essay on that paper (1500 words -- approx. 3-4 pages).


Course Presentations

Each presentation should be 20 minutes in length followed by leading a 30 minute discussion.

Your presentations should focus on the following:

          i. the main thesis of the paper,

          ii. the methods involved,

          iii. the results,

          iv. weaknesses or short comings of the experiment, analysis, or theoretical treatment (if any),

          v. and implications or importance of the paper.

 

After each presentation you should be prepared to lead a discussion of the paper. This will require:

          i. the main thesis of the paper,

          ii. some prepared questions or topics that will foster further discussion.


Course Essays

You are required to write 1 essay (1500 words) for completion of the course. The essay should be based on the paper you have presented.

In addition, you are required to write a 500 word critical review for each class in which you have not presented a paper (i.e., 5 short essays). These should summarize in a concise manner all of the papers read/discussed in the class.

Your review should focus on the following:

          i. the main thesis of the paper,

          ii. the methods involved,

          iii. the results and interpretations,

          iv. weaknesses or shortcomings of the experiment, analysis, or theoretical treatment (if any),

          v. and implications or importance of the paper.

Each essay/review must be submitted the day the papers are discussed. The essays should be submitted by email to Nick (Nick.Barton@ist.ac.at) and Christelle (Christelle.Fraisse@ist.ac.at) in PDF format.


Final Grade

Your grade for the course is determined with the following point system:

You can obtain a maximum of 25 points.

 

 

Course Material

1. Evolutionary Synthesis

          i. Haldane, J. B. S. 1932. The causes of evolution Longmans. New York. (esp. Ch. IV).

          ii. Fisher, R. A. 1930. The genetical theory of natural selection. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Selected Sections - Fundamental Theorem.

 

2. Mutation and Genetic variability

          i. Luria, S. E., and M. Delbrück. 1943. Mutations of Bacteria from Virus Sensitivity to Virus Resistance. Genetics. 28(6):491-511.

          ii. Hill, W G. 1982. “Rates of Change in Quantitative Traits From Fixation of New Mutations.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.). 79:142-145.

 

3. Genetic Variation

          i. Lewontin, R. C., and J. L. Hubby. 1966. A molecular approach to the study of genic heterozygosity in natural populations. II. Amount of variation and degree of heterozygosity in natural populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura. Genetics. 54:595-609.

          ii. Sachidandam et al. 2001. A Map of Human Genome Sequence Variation Containing 1.42 Million Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. Nature. 409(6822):928-933.

 

4. Neutral Evolution

          i. Kimura, M. 1968. Evolutionary rate at the molecular level. Nature. 217:624-626.

          ii. Hey, J. 1999. The neutralist, the fly and the selectionist. Trends Ecol. Evol. 14(1):35-38

 

5. Recombination and Evolution

          i. Hill, W. G., and A. Robertson. 1966. The effect of linkage on limits to artificial selection. Genet. Res. 8:269-294.

          ii. Smith, J. M., & Haigh, J. (1974). The hitch-hiking effect of a favourable gene. Genet. Res.. 23(01):23-35.

 

6. Testing for selection

          i. McDonald, J. H., & Kreitman, M. (1991). Adaptive protein evolution at the Adh locus in Drosophila. Nature. 351(6328):652.

          ii. Siddiq, M. A., et al. (2017). Experimental test and refutation of a classic case of molecular adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 1:0025.

 

 

 

Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time Location Topic
Thu, 16-Mar-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 1
Wed, 22-Mar-2017 13:30 - 14:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 1
Wed, 22-Mar-2017 15:00 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Recitation
Thu, 23-Mar-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 2
Wed, 29-Mar-2017 13:30 - 14:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 2
Wed, 29-Mar-2017 15:00 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Recitation
Thu, 30-Mar-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 3
Wed, 05-Apr-2017 13:30 - 14:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 3
Wed, 05-Apr-2017 15:00 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Recitation
Thu, 06-Apr-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 4
Wed, 12-Apr-2017 13:30 - 14:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 4
Wed, 12-Apr-2017 15:00 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Recitation
Thu, 13-Apr-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 5
Wed, 19-Apr-2017 13:30 - 14:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 5
Wed, 19-Apr-2017 15:00 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Recitation
Thu, 20-Apr-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 6
Wed, 26-Apr-2017 13:30 - 14:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 6

Homework

File Due Date
Presentation + Long Essay1: Lenka M (Haldane) + Michal L (Fisher); Short Essay1: Others Wed, 22-Mar-2017
Presentation + Long Essay2; Stefanie B (Hill) + Pavel P (Luria & Delbruck); Short Essay 2: Others Wed, 29-Mar-2017
Presentation + Long Essay3; Barbora T (Sachidandam) + Himani H (Lewontin & Hubby); Short Essay 3: Others Wed, 05-Apr-2017
Presentation + Long Essay4; Stefanie B (Hey) + Nicholas L (Kimura); Short Essay 4: Others Wed, 12-Apr-2017
Presentation + Long Essay5; Michal L (Maynard-Smith & Haigh) + Harald R (Hill & Robertson); Short Essay 5: Others Wed, 19-Apr-2017
Presentation + Long Essay6; Harald R (Siddiq) + Nicholas L (McDonald & Kreitman); Short Essay 6: Others Wed, 26-Apr-2017

Additional Downloads

Extended Classics Reading List

 

Lecture Slides:

Evolutionary Synthesis: Lecture - 1

Mutation and Genetic variability: Lecture - 2 (+ Charlesworth et al. 2017 + Charlesworth 2015)

Genetic Variation: Lecture - 3

Neutral Evolution: Lecture - 4

Recombination and evolution:  Lecture - 5

Testing for selection: Lecture - 6

 

Additional online resources:

Mark Ridley's take on Classic Papers (Evolution -- External link)

Darwin's notebooks and reading lists (Darwin Online -- External Link) [Note: Perhaps the most interesting Notebooks, in the context of this course, are those on Transmutation. The definition of "Transmutation" is, the conversion or transformation of one species into another. Today we would call this speciation.]