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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Population Genetics (PGBI11124)

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
SummaryPopulation genetics is the study of the genetic composition of populations, including changes of allele and genotype frequencies and phenotypes over time under natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and migration. Population genetics is a topic that is fundamental for understanding evolution by natural selection, the genetic basis of variation in natural populations and evolutionary genomics. Population genetics underpins quantitative genetics and therefore animal and plant breeding. This advanced course aims to achieve a thorough understanding of the major concepts in population genetics in order that students will have the foundation for postgraduate studies in evolutionary, human and animal breeding genetics.
Course description Introductory sessions will cover basic material in biology and genetics and algebra revision.
Students will go on to learn about the origin of variation from mutation, how allele frequencies change and how variation can be maintained by natural selection, the interaction between mutation and selection, genetic load, the genetics of finite populations including the coalescent process, molecular evolution and variation, and the evolutionary implications of linkage disequilibrium. The course will expose students to algebraic reasoning in an applied biological setting, problem solving, logic, attention to detail in calculations, oral paper presentation and scientific report writing summarising the work of others. Teaching is via lectures and associated question and answer sessions, tutorials and problem sessions and group discussions of recent key scientific papers on relevant and interesting topics.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Block 1 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 50, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 146 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) ICA 1: problems (25%).
ICA 2: essay (25%)
Exam: problems + 1 essay or paper summary (50%)
Feedback Marks and feedback for the ICAs will be made available shortly after each week's submission deadline. Feedback will also be received via a formative assessment essay, and participation in Q&A sessions and tutorials, where the students will be asked to solve problems.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To have a thorough understanding of the general concepts in population genetics.
  2. To have the foundation for advanced studies in semester 2 in evolutionary, human and animal breeding genetics.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive skills (evaluation & critical analysis and logical decomposition of problems)
Numeracy and IT skills (mathematical/statistical analysis, bioinformatic workflows and simulation algorithms needed to solve complex data analysis)
Autonomy, accountability and working with others
KeywordsGenetics,Population Genetics,Biology,Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis
Course organiserProf Peter Keightley
Tel: (0131 6)50 5443
Course secretaryMiss Zofia Bekas
Tel: (0131 6)50 5513
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