HS 2016: LV 28394-01

Evolution of host parasite interactions

Lecture with exercises (2KP)


Day, time and location

Course description

The main goal of the course is to provide an in depth treatment of concepts, examples and methods in evolutionary biology of host-parasite interactions. Evolution is based on changes in genome structures and gene-frequencies in response to the evolutionary factors: selection, drift, mutation and migration. The course will place host-parasite interactions into this framework. The course starts with an introduction into basic evolutionary biology of parasitism. Transmission of infectious diseases and its relation to parasite fitness will be treated in depth. A further emphasize will be on the evolution of immune systems. From there we approach questions about parasite and pathogen evolution as well as host-parasite coevolution. The evolution of virulence and the role of transmission will receive special consideration. The back bone of the course are lectures. In the lectures we introduce the concepts and their theoretical background, explain methods and use examples from current research.

The book "Evolutionary parasitology" by Paul Schmid-Hempel (Oxford University Press, 2011) is a good textbook for the course. It does not include all aspects treated in the course.


To pass this course and obtain the corresponding credit points, participation is required, an essay has to be written and the written final exam has to be passed. The essay counts 1/3 of the final grade, the exam 2/3.


To pass this course and obtain the corresponding credit points, an essay has to be written. Here are some guide lines for the essay