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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Phylogenetics and Population Genetics (PLSC11003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course has two distinct parts: firstly phylogenetics, which covers history of the field and the development of current methods of analysis and considers data types and data acquisition. It involves practicals for analysis using parsimony, likelihood and Bayesian methods, trait evolution and ancestral state reconstruction, ending with current issues and developments. Secondly population genetics, which covers sequencing methods, barcoding, theory of migration, selection and drift, and HW equilibrium.
Course description Phylogenetics is a discipline with an ever increasing impact in biology, from taxonomic classifications, biogeography, trait evolution and biome assembly. The Phylogenetics course leads you to the current state-of-the-art in the field, starting with a historical overview of phylogenetics. By the end of the course you should be adept at taking raw molecular data and generating phylogenies based on parsimony, bayesian and likelihood methods in a range of software packages. Population genetics focuses on examining the amounts and partitioning of genetic variation and establishing the evolutionary processes underlying population differentiation and diversification. This provides insights into how some groups of populations remain on a common evolutionary trajectory and others diversify into different ecotypes or species. Population genetic approaches are also widely used in conservation programmes in which the conservation of genetic biodiversity is an explicit goal. At the interface of population genetics (diversity and differentiation within species) and phylogenetics (relationships and differentiation between species) is the nature of the species themselves. The course ends with a discussion of the definition of plant species, and how the disciplines of population genetics and phylogenetics can contribute towards enhanced understanding of the most appropriate concept(s) of what constitutes a species.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Blocks 1-3 (Sem 1-2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 26, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 76, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment is through two written assignments, an exercise on population genetics counting for 1/3 of the mark, and a phylogenetics exercise counting for 2/3.
Feedback Feedback is offered as written comments to students after their assignments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the theory supporting phylogenetic and population genetic analyses.
  2. Review different methods of phylogenetic and population genetic analysis, illustrate how they can be used to address different biological questions or hypotheses, and evaluate which are appropriate for a particular question or hypothesis.
  3. Apply methods for curation of data and production of publication-quality analyses.
  4. Appraise research papers reporting phylogenetic or population genetic analyses.
  5. Create a research report, based on analysis of data, in the format of a scientific research paper.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analysis
Critical Analysis
Problem solving
IT skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Louis Ronse De Craene
Tel: (0131) 248 2804
Course secretaryMrs Claire Black
Tel: (0131 6)50 8637
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