Evo Devo Fall2013

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EEB 5333, Fall 2013
Evolutionary Developmental Biology
Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15 pm, Bamford Room (TLS 171B)

Contents

Description

This is an advanced course that explores the interface between evolutionary biology and developmental biology. In addition to considering how developmental pathways evolve, and the developmental basis of phenotypic evolution, we will ask what novel insights emerge from a synthesis of these fields. Major topics to be considered include the following: developmental constraints, homology, plasticity, novelty and evolvability.

Instructors

Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch
Office: Biology/Pharmacy 305B
Phone: (860) 486-4452
Office hours: by appointment

Dr. Carl Schlichting
Office: Torrey Life Sciences 366
Phone: (860) 486-4056
Office hours: by appointment


Handouts and Announcements

Books & Sources in Evolutionary Developmental Biology


Expectations and Grading

This course has a mixed lecture/discussion format. In general, Tuesdays will be used for lectures that provide an overview and background information. Thursdays will be dedicated to student-led discussion based on reading from the literature. We expect everyone to participate actively in the class. In order to help prepare for discussions, you should write a brief (<1 page) reaction piece to each set of readings, highlighting your thoughts about the readings, connections between them or questions raised by them. This will be handed in each week. Responsibility for leading the discussions will rotate. 
 You are required to complete an independent project on a topic of your choice. Appropriate topics will integrate diverse data types or theoretical models and empirical information, and allow you to explore a particular example or concept in greater depth. You should discuss your choice of topics with one of us no later than Friday, October 28. The last week of class will be devoted to presentations and discussions based on these projects. You will be in charge of assigning a paper relevant to your presentation.
 There will be one take-home exam due the day of the Final Exam. It will consist of one or several essay questions that will ask you to integrate the knowledge that you have acquired during the course. 



Deadlines

WeeklyDiscussion pieces
Friday, Oct. 28Term paper topic approved
Thursday, Dec. 1Independent project paper due
Dec. 6-8Independent project presentations
Tuesday, Dec. 13Final exam due


Course grade

Discussions35%, including participation, leading discussion, and reaction pieces
Individual project40%, based on presentation (15%) and paper (25%)
Final exam25%


Topics and Readings

Week 1 (Aug. 27/29): Overview of evolutionary developmental biology

Discussion Leader: Elizabeth
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Week 2 (Sept. 3/5): The molecular building blocks of development

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Week 3 (Sept. 10/12): Small RNAs: another layer of gene regulation

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Week 4 (Sept. 17/19): Development and homoplasy

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Week 5 (Sept. 24/26): Evolution of developmental networks

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Week 6 (Oct. 1/3): Development and homology

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Week 7 (Oct. 8/10) : Developmental constraints and evolution

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Week 8 (Oct. 15/17): Modularity

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Week 9 (Oct. 22/24): Robustness and canalization

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Week 10 (Oct. 29/31): Plasticity

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Week 11 (Nov. 5/7): Evolvability

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Week 13 (Nov. 19/21): Novelty

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Week 14 (Nov. 26/28): Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 15 (Dec. 3/5): Project Presentations

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