The past 20 years have seen a revolution in our understanding of evolution of life, with microorganisms providing some of the most exciting and far-reaching insights in the field. Information from biogeochemistry, genome sequencing and in-depth phylogeny has revealed the critical importance of microorganisms in the evolution and operation of the biosphere, the progressive evolution of plants and animals and the process of speciation in general. The principal aim of the course is to provide graduate students with (i) an up-to-date understanding of the current status of research in biological evolution with the focus on microorganisms;
means how to benefit from evolutionary analysis in molecular biomedical research, and (ii) an appreciation of the many outstanding general issues that remain to be addressed.
There will be two take-home examinations for the course. Student performance will be graded on the results of the examinations as well as their participation in class discussions.