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Department of Biology & Biochemistry, Unit Catalogue 2011/12

BB40134: Molecular phylogenetics and evolution

Click here for further information Credits: 6
Click here for further information Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Click here for further information Period: Semester 1
Click here for further information Assessment: ES 20%, EX 60%, OT 20%
Click here for further information Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Click here for further information Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take BB20023
Click here for further information Description: Aims:
To outline current understanding of the types and mechanisms (modes and modality) of molecular evolution. To outline how scientists can infer and interpret evolutionary relationships using molecular data and how this process is both informed by and informs our understanding of molecular evolution.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this course the student should be able to:
* explicate how new genes and genetic variations can be created and fixed in a lineage.
* explain what horizontal gene transfer is, how it can occur and what effects it can have.
* give a detailed explanation of what rates of genetic variation are, why there are different rates and what effects this can have on molecular evolution.
* explain what phylogenetic inference is, how molecular sequence data can be used for this, and critically interpret phylogenetic trees.
* describe the theories, methodologies and practical applications of the most common methods of polygenetic inference (distance, parsimony, maximum likelihood).
* expound on what the major methodological and biological considerations/limitations are in phylogenetic inference and some of the approaches to accommodate/correct for these.
* explain the most common methods to assess confidence in phylogenetic inferences.

Learning and studying T/F/A, Written communication T/F/A, Information technology T/F/A, Information handling & retrieval T/F/A, Working independently T/F.

Selectionist and neutralist theories of evolution. Gene creation. Genetic maintenance and mutation. Horizontal gene transfer. Molecular phylogenetics in perspective. Phylogenetic trees and their interpretation. Obtaining and assessing phylogenetically informative characters. Modifying models of evolution. Common methods of inference. Assessing confidence for inferences. Methodological considerations/limitations. Considerations/limitations due to the nature of molecular evolution. Examples.
Click here for further informationProgramme availability:

BB40134 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Biology & Biochemistry
  • USBB-AFB02 : BSc (hons) Biochemistry (Full-time) - Year 3
  • USBB-AKB06 : BSc (hons) Biochemistry with Professional Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 4
  • USBB-AFB03 : BSc (hons) Biology (Full-time) - Year 3
  • USBB-AKB07 : BSc (hons) Biology with Professional Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 4
  • USBB-AFB05 : BSc (hons) Molecular and Cellular Biology (Full-time) - Year 3
  • USBB-AKB08 : BSc (hons) Molecular and Cellular Biology with Professional Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 4
  • USBB-ANM02 : MBiochem (hons) Biochemistry (Full-time with Thin Sandwich Placements) - Year 4
  • USBB-AKM05 : MBiol (hons) Molecular and Cellular Biology (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 4
  • RSBB-AFM07 : Integrated PhD Postgenomic Biosciences (Biosciences Route) (Full-time) - Year 1
  • RSBB-AFM15 : Integrated PhD Postgenomic Biosciences (Evolutionary Biology Route) (Full-time) - Year 1
  • RSBB-AFM16 : Integrated PhD Postgenomic Biosciences (Molecular Microbiology Route) (Full-time) - Year 1
  • TSBB-AFM03 : MRes Biosciences (Full-time) - Year 1
  • TSBB-AFM15 : MRes Evolutionary Biology (Full-time) - Year 1
  • TSBB-AFM16 : MRes Molecular Microbiology (Full-time) - Year 1
  • TSBB-AFM06 : MSc Biosciences (Full-time) - Year 1
  • TSBB-AFM08 : MSc Evolutionary and Population Biology (Full-time) - Year 1
  • TSBB-AFM10 : MSc Molecular Microbiology (Full-time) - Year 1
Programmes in Natural Sciences
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci (hons) Natural Sciences (Full-time) - Year 4

NB. Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.