(Note: This webpage will be modified continuously! So, please check regularly for updates). >Last update: November 24, 2016

Evolutionary Genetics

LV 25600-01 : Lecture with exercises (6KP)


First organizational meeting

Day, time and location for the lectures

Educational objectives

The main goal of the course is to provide an in depth treatment of concepts, examples and methods in evolutionary genetics in its different blends. Evolution is based on changes in genome structures and gene-frequencies in response to evolutionary forces like selection, drift and migration. The field of Evolutionary Genetics studies these processes from different perspectives ranging from DNA-sequences, over allele-frequencies and the inheritance of continuous phenotypic variation to patterns of natural and sexual selection driving evolutionary change. It thereby focusses on emerging patterns at the level of the population (rather than on molecular mechanisms). This course will cover the four main domains in modern evolutionary genetics - Bioinformatics, Molecular Evolution, Population Genetics and Quantitative Genetics. The joint treatment of the four domains in a single course provides an integrated training in Evolutionary Genetics. This discipline is nowadays of increasing importance in other biological fields such as Conservation Biology, Ecology, Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology, Behaviour Genetics, Epidemiology of infectious diseases and Evolutionary Biology in general.

The course consists of both lectures and exercises. In the lectures we discuss the concepts, the theoretical background, the methods and treat specific research examples. In the exercises, the students practice methods required to works scientifically in each of the four domains (e.g., software applications, data analysis, theoretical modeling).


The lecture on "Molecular Evolution" is based on the textbook A Primer of Ecological Genetics and Molecular Evolution - A Phylogenetic Approach. It is recommended to read at least parts of the books.

Bioinformatics for Beginners

Bioinformatics for Beginners
Genes, Genomes, Molecular Evolution, Databases and Analytical Tools
Edited by:Supratim Choudhuri
ISBN: 978-0-12-410471-6

A Primer of Ecological Genetics - Conner & Hartl

A Primer of Ecological Genetics
by Jeffrey K. Conner & Daniel L. Hartl
ISBN-10: 087893202X

Molecular Evolution - A Phylogenetic Approach

Molecular Evolution - A Phylogenetic Approach
by Roderic D. M. Page & Edward C. Holmes
ISBN 10: 0865428891 / 0-86542-889-1


To pass this course and obtain the credit points, participation on all four parts is required and the final grading has to be 4 or higher. The final grading will be deterimned by a written exam at the end.

Specific content:

A) Bioinformatics (Jean-Claude Walser / Weeks 38-41 - Tue 14:15-17:00 and Thu 14:15-17:00)

Lecture Notes:

Course Assigments:




B) Molecular Evolution (Lev Yampolsky / Weeks 41-44 - Tue 14:15-17:00 and Thu 14:15-17:00)

C) Population Genetics (Jean-Claude Walser / Weeks 45-47 - Tue 14:15-17:00 and Thu 14:15-17:00)

Lecture Notes:


Population Genetics for R:



D) Quantitative Genetics (Lev Yampolsky / Weeks 48-50 - Tue 14:15-17:00 and Thu 14:15-17:00)

E) Student Presentations (Jean-Claude Walser and Lev Yampolsky / Weeks 51 - Tue 14:15-17:00)