BIOL 415
Developmental and Genomic Evolution of Animal Design Fall 2009
Division III
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The basis of what makes a bird a bird and a frog a frog has less to do with a specific complement of genes but rather the way in which genes are differentially expressed in a given lineage. Most new design features result from changes in gene expression and function that have been incorporated into the genome and subsequently translated into form by developmental processes. Therefore the key to understanding the mechanisms that generate biological form and diversity lie at the intersection of a rapidly growing fields of evolutionary, developmental and genome biology. This course will explore how the modification of developmental mechanisms can create novel traits, how others are resistant to change, the basis of shared ancestral traits as opposed to those that arise independently. Class discussions will focus on readings from the original literature.
The Class: Format: discussion, three hours per week
Limit: 24
Expected: 20
Class#: 1397
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation and several short papers
Prerequisites: Biology 202; open to juniors and seniors
Enrollment Preferences: senior Biology majors who have not taken a 400-level course
Distributions: Division III

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