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Experimental Evolution

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Master in Life Science, ENS IMaLiS
Bio-M1-M2_E17 | Experimental Evolution
Year and Semester : M1 | M2 S1
Duration : 30 hours
First and last day of class : November 1st - 5th, 2021
Hours : 9am-12pm | 2pm-5pm
Maximum class size : 20 students


Henrique Teotonio, ENS.
This course is open to external students, contact : Henrique Teotonio




Artificial and natural selection | Domestication | Population dynamics | Population and quantitative genetics | Evolve & resequence | Phenomics | Model organisms | Experimental design and statistical inference.

Course prerequisites

Students will have a keen interest in understanding the fundamental processes and parameters of evolution, and will have had an undergraduate level introduction to population genetics and quantitative genetics. Students will further have a basic understanding of statistical analysis and computer programming. Students should critically read Kawecki et al. (2012), Long et al. (2015), and Teotónio et al. (2017) before the course.

Course objectives and description

Aims : The course will introduce students to the experimental approaches employed to test hypotheses about natural selection and genetic drift, to estimate parameters about standing genetic variation (such as mutation, recombination, breeding mode and migration rates), and as a means for gene discovery. We will discuss the use of several model organisms to address specific questions, ranging from asexual microbes to sexual metazoans, about domestication, adaptation to novel environments and extinction.
Themes : We will focus on population genetic processes and phenotypic evolution, and will cover topics such as maintenance of genetic variation, developmental evolution, host-pathogen coevolution, phenotypic plasticity and transgenerational effects, evolution of sex and recombination, among others.
Organisation : In the mornings lectures and seminars will be given by researchers, in the afternoons there will be practical computer projects of data analysis and/or numerical simulations.


Students will be evaluated based on their attendance and active participation in the lectures and seminars (accounting for 30% of the final grade) and in the presentation of their computer projects in the last afternoon (70%).

Course material

Lecture and computer practical handouts will be provided to the students.

Suggested readings in relation with the module content

• Bell, G. (1997). Selection : The Mechanism of Evolution. New York, Chapman&Hall.
Kassen, R. (2014). Experimental Evolution and the Nature of Biodiversity. Greenwood Village, Roberts and Company Publishers, Inc.
• Kawecki, T. J., R. E. Lenski, D. Ebert, B. Hollis, I. Olivieri and M. C. Whitlock (2012). "Experimental evolution." Trends Ecol Evol 27(10) : 547-560.
• Long, A., G. Liti, A. Luptak and O. Tenaillon (2015). "Elucidating the molecular architecture of adaptation via evolve and resequence experiments." Nat Rev Genet 16(10) : 567-582.
• Rose, M. R. and G. V. Lauder (1996). Adaptation. San Diego, Academic Press.
• Teotónio, H., S. Estes, P. Phillips and C. F. Baer (2017). "Experimental evolution with Caernohabditis nematodes." Genetics 206(12) : 691-716.
• Wright, S. (1977). Evolution and the Genetics of Populations : Experimental Results and Evolutionary Deductions. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.