Molecular Evolution

Course Aim

Understanding the theoretical concepts of molecular evolution and their application to solve biological questions.

Course Description

Recent advances in technology and software for analysis of genetic sequences have rapidly expanded our understanding of the process of evolution at the molecular level. Learn about the basic concepts of molecular evolution, and how they contribute to evolution on larger scales. Use modern tools for gene sequencing to determine changes in genes and their resulting protein changes, and discuss the impact of these on the biology of organisms. Learn how to use a number of widely-used bioinformatics tools for gene annotation, orthology, constructing phylogenetic trees, and genomics and proteomics. Apply these tools to answer important questions in biology such as the evolution of species. Explore the use of modern genetic sampling and sequencing tools and techniques in the analysis of environmental and ancient DNA.

Course Contents

1. DNA, RNA and protein

2. Replication and mutation

3. Building a genome

4. Gene

5. Selection

6. Drift and population genetics

7. Evolution of species

8. Using DNA to build phylogenies

9. Putting dates on trees

10.High throughput sequencing: the rise of genomics and transcriptomics

11.Working with genome-scale data: Annotation, gene orthology, RNAseq…

12.Genomics of symbiosis

13.Amplicon metagenomics and environmental DNA

14.Ancient DNA and protein


1/4 participation, 1/4 presentation, 1/2 homework and essay.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Assumes general knowledge in biology


An Introduction to Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics, by Lindell Bromham (2015) Oxford University Press