Genetics 453

Evolutionary Genetics

Winter, 2001

Instructors: Mary Kuhner and Peter Beerli

Time and location: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30-12:20 HSB J-280

News about the course

Description from the UW Course Catalog

GENET 453 Genetics of the Evolutionary Process (3) NW Felsenstein
Contributions of genetics to the understanding of evolution. Processes of mutation, selection, and random genetic events as they affect the genetic architecture of natural populations and the process of speciation. Emphasis on experimental data and observation, rather than mathematical theory. Prerequisite: either GENET 371 or GENET 372.
Instructor Course Description: Mary Kuhner and Peter Beerli

Why don't we have a textbook?

(We know it makes everyone insecure, but at the graduate level it is standard not to have a textbook. If you go to grad school you'll have to get used to it.) We are trying to compensate by handing out lecture summaries.

What are some other related courses?

Biology 454 (Evolutionary Mechanisms)
The main evolution course at the University, taught yearly by Joel Kingsolver (Zoology Department) and Doug Schemske (Botany Department). Both are well-known researchers in evolutionary biology. Text in past has been Futuyma's "Evolutionary Biology" or Ridley's "Evolution". This year it is Freeman and Herron's "Evolutionary Analysis". What is the difference between Genetics 453 and Biology 454? Biology 454 is a fine course with a somewhat different emphasis. It is more oriented to covering issue such as evolutionary ecology, speciation, fossil record, and so on, while we spend more time than they do on genetic effects -- particularly molecular evolution, chromosome evolution, and population genetics. There is some substantial overlap. Winter quarter.
Zoology 414 (Molecular Evolution)
Molecular evolution course by Scott Edwards, who is an active researcher in that area. Texts last time were Li and Graur "Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution" and Avise "Molecular Markers". Winter quarter.
Genetics 562 (Population Genetics)
A course given every other year by Joe Felsenstein. This is a graduate theoretical evolutionary genetics course. Lots of equations, though mostly at a low mathematical level. No pictures of cute furry animals. Next time it's given will be Spring, 2001. Text: notes, sold inexpensively by ASUW Publications in the HUB.
Genetics 570 (Phylogenetic Inference)
This is a graduate-level course on evolutionary trees taught by Joe Felsenstein. Methods for inferring phylogenies, and methods for doing things with them. Some background in statistics necessary. It will be given every other Spring (next time is Spring 2002).
There are more courses and we will gradually try to put descriptions of them here.

What are some Internet resources on evolutionary biology?

There are many:


Some brief descriptions of some of the major ones covering evolution:
Discussion of systematics, including phylogeny and classification. Most postings are serious discussions by researchers. Some percentage of them are semantic issues or legalistic discussions of taxon names. There is often an endless thread about cladistic versus evolutionary-systematic approaches to classification.
Discussion among researchers about molecular evolution. Low volume, high quality. Co-moderated by Jerry Learn of our Micro Department.
Tends to be filled with postings by fossil enthusiasts and tends to be dinosaur-centered. Some creation/evolution debating too.
Supposed to be the forum for discussion by population biologists. But they don't post much there. Occasionally someone sees the "population" in the group title and starts a discussion of human overpopulation issues, which are best discussed elsewhere. This helps ensure that real population biologists will continue to avoid the group.
Moderated by Josh Hayes, formerly of our own Center for Quantitative Sciences, who should get some sort of award for putting up with a lot of nonsense. I think it was intended as a forum for discussion among researchers, but has tended to be filled with postings by others about whether humans are still evolving (answer: yes, but it's extremely slow compared to cultural change) and whether laughter is selectively advantageous. Not intended for evolution/creation debates: Josh screens these out.
The arena for endless debate between creationists and others, with frequent digressions into theology. Extremely high noise to signal ratio. When a decisive point is made, the opponent changes the subject or just refuses to respond.

World Wide Web Pages

This page was originally created by Joe Felsenstein (who gave this course until Winter 2000) and now modified by Peter Beerli