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Classics in Evolutionary Biology II

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:

          7. Sexual Selection

          8. Kin selection

          9. Fitness landscapes

          10. Shifting Balance

          11. Speciation

          12. Evolution of Sex


Prerequisites

The first part of the course "Classics in Evolutionary Biology" (first half of spring 2017).


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

7. Sexual Selection

          i. Zahavi, A. 1975. Mate selection - a selection of a handicap. J. Theor. Biol. 53:205-214.

          ii. Kirkpatrick, M., and Ryan, M.J. 1991. The evolution of mating preferences and the paradox of the lek. Nature. 350:33-38.

8. Kin Selection

          i. Hamilton, W. D. 1964. The genetical evolution of social behaviour I. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 7:1-52.

          ii. Trivers, R. L. 1974. Parent-offspring conflict. American Zoologist. 14(1):249-264.

9. Fitness landscapes

          i. Dean, A. 1995. A Molecular Investigation of Genotype by Environment Interactions. Genetics. 139:19-33.

          ii. Lehman, N. and Joyce, G. 1993. Evolution in Vitro: Analysis of a Lineage of Ribozymes. Current Biology 3: 723–34.

10. Shifting Balance

          i. Wright, S. 1932. The roles of mutation, inbreeding, crossbreeding and selection in evolution. Proceedings of the VI International Congress of Genetics: 1. pp 356-366.

          ii. Coyne, J.A., N.H. Barton, and M. Turelli. 1997. A critique of Wright's shifting balance theory of evolution.  Evolution 51: 643-671.

11. Speciation

          i. Coyne, J. A., and H. A. Orr. 1989. Patterns of speciation in Drosophila. Evolution. 43:362-381.

          ii. Orr, H A. 1996. Dobzhansky, Bateson and the Genetics of Speciation. Genetics 144: 1331–35

12. Evolution of Sex

          i. Muller, H.J. 1964. The relation of recombination to mutational advance. Mutation Res. 1(1):2-9

          ii. McDonald, M. J., Rice, D. P., & Desai, M. M. (2016). Sex speeds adaptation by altering the dynamics of molecular evolution. Nature, 531(7593), 233-236.

 

 

Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time Location Topic
Thu, 04-May-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 7
Wed, 10-May-2017 13:30 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 7
Thu, 11-May-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 8
Wed, 17-May-2017 13:30 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 8
Wed, 17-May-2017 16:00 - 17:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 9
(Thu, 18-May-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Retreat)  
Wed, 24-May-2017 13:30 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 9
Wed, 24-May-2017 16:00 - 17:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 10
(Thu, 25-May-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Ascension)  
Wed, 31-Apr-2017 13:30 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 10
Thu, 01-Jun-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 11
Wed, 07-Jun-2017 13:30 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 11
Thu, 08-Jun-2017 15:00 - 16:15 Evolutionary Biology Room Lecture 12
Wed, 14-Jun-2017 13:30 - 15:45 Evolutionary Biology Room Presentation 12

Homework

File Due Date
Presentation + Long Essay1: Gemma (Zahavi) + Reka (Kirkpatrick & Ryan); Short Essay1: Others Wed, 10-May-2017
Presentation + Long Essay2; Himani (Hamilton) + Stefanie (Trivers); Short Essay 2: Others Wed, 17-May-2017
Presentation + Long Essay3; Michal (Dean) + Reka (Lehman & Joyce); Short Essay 3: Others Wed, 24-May-2017
Presentation + Long Essay4; Lenka (Wright) + Harald (Coyne); Short Essay 4: Others Wed, 31-May-2017
Presentation + Long Essay5; Michal (Coyne & Orr) + Reka (Orr); Short Essay 5: Others Wed, 07-Jun-2017
Presentation + Long Essay6; Stefanie (Muller) + Gemma (McDonald); Short Essay 6: Others Wed, 14-Jun-2017

Additional Downloads

Extended Classics Reading List

 

Lecture Slides & Further Readings:

Sexual selection: Fisher 1930 VI + Lande 1981 + Kirkpatrick & Ryan 1991

Kin selection: Hamilton's commentary on the 1964 paper + perspective from Vladar & Szathmáry 2017 + Philosophers: Okasha & Martens 2016

Fitness landscapes: Lecture - 9

Shifting balance: Provine's commentary on Wright’s shifting balance theory of evolution + Barton 2016

Speciation: Lecture - 11 + Coyne & Orr’s Speciation book

Evolution of sex: Lecture - 12 + Barton & Charlesworth 1998 + Hartfield 2010

 

Further reading:

Wright’s collected papers: "Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology"

Hamilton’s collected papers: "Narrow Roads of Gene Land"