Course Coordinator: 
Noriyuki Satoh
Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Learn about the most recent theory and techniques in evolutionary and developmental biology with an emphasis on the underlying molecular genomics. Trace the history of animal body plans, and consider the genetic toolkits responsible for this evolution. Examine recent advances in decoding the genomes of various animals, plants and microbes. Through class presentations, critically analyze research in developmental biology and present findings on topics such as comparative genomics, the evolution of transcription factors and signal transduction molecules and their relation to the evolution and diversification of the various complex body plans present through history.  

To introduce basic concepts of Evo-Devo that are essential to understand the diversity of animal body plans.
Course Content: 
  1. Introduction (background, general concepts, etc)
  2. History of animals (fossil records, phylogenic tree)
  3. History of animals (genomics, molecular phylogeny)
  4. Genetic toolkits (developmental concepts)
  5. Genetic toolkits (Hox complex)
  6. Genetic toolkits (genetic toolkits, animal design)
  7. Building animals (lower metazoans)
  8. Building animals (protostomes)
  9. Building animals (deuterostome and vertebrates)
  10. Evolution of toolkits (gene families)
  11. Diversification of body plans (body axis)
  12. Diversification of body plans (conserved and derived body plans)
  13. Evolution of morphological novelties
  14. Species diversification
  15. Phylum diversification
Course Type: 
Homework (20%), Written reports (4 x 20%)
Text Book: 
  • From DNA to Diversity, 2 edn, by Carroll, Grenier and Weatherbee (2005) Blackwell.
Reference Book: 
    Prior Knowledge: 
    Undergraduate level Cell Biology and Genetics or similar background knowledge required.