Introductory Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Course Aim

This course presents the basic principles and recent findings in evolutionary developmental biology.

Course Description

Survey the range of modern animal body plans, and discover how these have evolved through time. Examine the developmental process of multicellular organisms and how they have evolved through time, including specific molecular mechanisms at the genetic and cell signaling level. Learn about and use software and hardware techniques for researching development in animals. Discuss modern approaches and recent findings in the field through presentations and reports on specific issues in evolutionary developmental biology.

Course Contents

1. Animal phylogeny I
2. Animal phylogeny II
3. Gene homology
4. Practice: Molecular Phylogeny
5. Gene expression
6. Signaling pathways I
7. Signaling pathways II
8. Research tools for EvoDevo I
9. Research tools for EvoDevo II
10. New Animal Models


Midterm Reports 70% (2 x 35%), Presentation 30%

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge assumed


original papers will be supplied as required

Reference Books

Animal Evolution Interrelationships of the Living Phyla, 3 Edn, by Nielsen (2011) Oxford University Press

Developmental Biology, 11 Edn, by Gilbert and Barresi (2016) Sinauer

The Evolution of Organ Systems, by Schmidt-Rhaesa (2007) Oxford University Press

Evolutionary Transitions to Multicellular Life Principles and mechanisms, by Ruiz-Trillo and Nedelcu (2015) Springer

Research Specialties