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Molecular Evolution (BiSc 224)

Instructor: TBD
Number of Credits: 3
Level of instruction: graduate and advanced undergraduates
Description: In this course we will review the diversity and organization of genomes. The class is designed to examine all major structures of molecules include, coding and non-coding regions. For example, repetitive sequences to be surveyed will include LINES, SINES, mini- and micro-satellites, Alu repeats, as well as telomeric and centromeric repeats. Other genetic elements to be studied will include transfer RNAs and ribosomal RNAs from both cytoplasmic and nuclear components. Gene families (Hox genes, Globin genes) will also be examined. Students will gain an understanding of the diversity and organization of genomes with emphasis on interpreting this variation in a phylogenetic perspective.
How often is the course offered: Fall Semester during even years.
What is the average enrollment: This is a new course currently under development and has not yet been taught; we anticipate an enrollment of 10-15 students each year.
How broad a student audience is served by the course: This is a new course and has not yet been taught; we anticipate an enrollment of graduate students from GWU (Departments of Biology, Genetics, and Anthropology), Georgetown University (Biology Department) and Howard (Anatomy Department).

Lecture Syllabus

Week 1
Molecular systematics, approaches to studying molecular evolution.

Week 2
Molecular constraints on phylogeny reconstruction, homoplasy.

Week 3
Genome organization, Gene structure and molecular characters

Week 4
Selection and Neutrality of genes

Week 5
Rates of molecular evolution

Week 6
Molecular clocks

Week 7
Patterns of nucleotide substitution.

Week 8
Nuclear Genome, Genome size variation and gene duplication

Week 9
Nuclear Genome, Highly repetitive DNAs, ribosomal genes

Week 10
Nuclear Genome, mini- and micro-satellite DNAs, SINES, LINES

Week 11
Nuclear Genome, Repetitive DNAs and Multigene families

Week 12
Nuclear Genome, Concerted evolution and molecular drive

Week 13
Nuclear Genome, Transposable elements, Evolution of single copy genes

Week 14
Extrachromosomal DNA, Chloroplast and mitochondrial DNAs

Week 15
Extrachromosomal DNA, Rates of evolution, Patterns of change