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BB30208: Evolutionary quantitative genetics

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Biology & Biochemistry
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 10%, EX 60%, SM 30%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 60%)
  • Participation (CW 10%)
  • Seminar (SM 30%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Reassessment not allowed
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take BB20040
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
Most traits of economic importance and evolutionary relevance vary quantitatively (e.g., morphological, behavioural and physiological traits; life history attributes and components of fitness; disease susceptibility, and resistance to pathogens). These quantitative traits have a complex genetic basis, being influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Consequently, traditional Mendelian genetics is not sufficient to understand the genetic basis and evolution of these traits. This course aims for students to develop an understanding of the basic concepts in quantitative genetics, and to explore the relationship between molecular and phenotypic variation (i.e. the "genotype - phenotype relationship"). It will also demonstrate and discuss modern applications of quantitative genetics such as methods for identifying the genetic basis of quantitative traits (QTL analysis), applications in plant breeding, conservation genetics, etc.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this course the student should be able to:
* Explain what heritability is, how it can be estimated, and how it can be used to understand a number of important concepts, including disease likelihood in families, and selective breeding for trait improvement in plants and animals.
* Explain the application of quantitative genetic concepts and techniques to applied problems, including conservation programmes.
* Evaluate the appropriate literature to determine the key facts that lead to our current understanding of the genetic basis and evolvability of traits that vary quantitatively.
* Determine the best experimental approach to study quantitative traits and appropriate techniques to analyze traits that vary quantitatively.
* Present oral and written reports that form concise and up-to-date summaries of the basic concepts of Quantitative genetics and its application.

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


* Introduction to the basic concepts in quantitative genetics, including patterns of genetic effects (additive, dominance), components of genetic variation, genetic relationship between traits (pleiotropy, genetic covariances and correlations), resemblance of relatives, genotype-by-environment interactions and the measurement of selection.
* The use of these concepts to understanding the evolutionary process through the response to artificial and natural selection.
* Demonstration and discussion of modern applications of quantitative genetic such as methods for identifying the genetic basis of quantitative traits (QTL analysis and genome-wide association studies), and applications of quantitative genetics in evolution, behaviour, breeding and conservation.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

BB30208 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Biology & Biochemistry Programmes in Natural Sciences
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Year 3)
  • UXXX-AKM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences with Professional Placement (Year 4)
  • UXXX-AAM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences with Study year abroad (Year 4)

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.