The course provides an overview of the evolution of genes and genomes. Using many examples, the course introduces databases and the Worldwide Web, and molecular and statistical methods used to study the evolution of genes and genomes. Broad-scale evolutionary patterns and medical applications based on genome analyses are presented.
The main goal of this course is to provide the information needed to understand why and how genomes are analyzed, and what the major findings and their implications are. In today’s world, the daily news and many professions deal with genomics. In tomorrows world this likely will be even more so. Thus, whether you plan to become a scientist, medical doctor, pharmacist, journalist, (patent) lawyer, venture capitalist, politician, animal or plant breeder, or one of many other professions, you need to be able to partake in the conversation about genomics, or better yet, fully understand the impact of the discipline on our lives. To achieve this goal, the basic principles of genomics, bioinformatics, population genetics, and molecular evolution underlying the sequencing and analysis of genomes will be presented in class. We will also discuss medical genomics applications and even a few aspects on how genomics could affect law, society and ethics. The challenge for all of us will be to jump between topics as diverse as molecular evolution, speciation, ecological genetics, developmental biology, and medicine; each usually covered in their own separate courses.