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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Zoology

Undergraduate Course: Evolution and Ecology of Ageing (ZLGY10029)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAgeing is one of the most complex and variable of biological processes. Understanding its causes and consequences is one of the central challenges currently facing by biologists and biomedics. Evolutionary theory provides a unifying framework with which to study and understand ageing. This course will offer students a brief overview of the challenge that ageing poses to modern human society, and recent developments in the way we measure and study ageing. We will then discuss in detail evolutionary theories of ageing, which can explain both near universality of the phenomenon of ageing and the great diversity of ageing rates across plant and animal species. Note that this part of the course involves presentation and discussion of mathematical models from evolutionary theory. No prior specific experience with maths or theories are required, but students are required to engage with mathematical models and understand what such models tell us about the evolution of ageing, as a core part of the course. In the second half of the course, we will move onto more specific lectures relating to important topics in the evolutionary study of ageing, including the effects of the environment on ageing, how and why the sexes differ in ageing rates, and the effects of social interactions on the ageing process. We aim to provide students with an up-to-date understanding of how evolutionary thinking is shaping our understanding of the ageing process.
Course description The course is based around 10-12 lectures, but will also involve group discussion sessions centred on salient topics covered in these lectures and in-course assessment based on critical reading of papers from the primary literature which each student will be assigned.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please do not enrol a student on this course without prior permission from the School of Biological Sciences. Please contact the Course Administrator in the first instance.
Additional Costs No
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 19/09/2022
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 30, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 66 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 50% ICA: 50% Exam.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. An understanding of the main evolutionary theories of ageing.
  2. An understanding of how these theories help us explain variation in the ageing process observed in the natural world.
  3. An ability to perform in-depth critical analysis of published primary research papers
Reading List
Recommended Reading: Flatt, T. & Partridge, L. (2018) Horizons in the evolution of aging. BMC Biology, 16: 93.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Daniel Nussey
Tel: (0131 6)50 5494
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Law
Tel: (0131 6)51 3689
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