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EBC / Trends in Development and Evolution


Prof. dr M.K. Richardson;

Developmental processes are shaped by evolutionary processes, but can in turn also shape evolutionary changes in morphology and behaviour. The study of these relationships is a rapidly developing and prominent area of research, characterized by rapid advances in both theoretical thinking and experimental approaches and possibilities. It is broad ranging: from the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying variation and diversification of morphologies (often indicated as the study of ‘evo-devo’), gene-environment interactions in phenotypic development, the mechanisms underlying epigenetic inheritance, to gene-culture co-evolution and cultural evolution as initiated by learning processes and behavioural development. This course will give students an extensive introduction in the area, spanning the levels from molecular mechanisms to organism-environment interactions, which will give it a unique and broad integrative scope. It will primarily deal with animal development, but also include some work on plants. Knowledge about molecular developmental processes also has important applied biomedical implications, which will also be given attention. Apart from being of general interest, the course also provides an excellent basis for MSc-research projects on the topic in the research groups Evolutionary Biology, Integrative Zoology, Behavioural Biology and on plant evo-devo (NHN).

Methods of instruction:
This course is based on lectures, assignments and self study, using primary literature. Teachers from the various research groups will be involved. The time schedule will be provided at the start of the course.

Study material:
Reviews and research articles. Presentations on Blackboard.

Testing will be done by various assignments (essay, oral presentation).

Course objective:
The aim of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the area and show them the major theoretical paradigms. They will be trained in making connections between various approaches and levels of explanation; to formulate research questions, think critically, discuss concepts and ideas, and to present their views in various ways.


via USIS



Use of DLO:
Blackboard will be used.