Molecular DNA techniques are now instrumental in a wide range of applications from conservation biology to evolutionary ecology. You will learn how to use such methods in the lab and in computer based analyses and to read scientific papers using molecular techniques. It is a practically oriented course providing the basics for DNA analyses in any kind of free living organism. Steps included are:
Computer programs that will be used include:
To provide a common basis for the course, we start with basic lectures and a two-day excursion. The course is organized in five blocks. The first block is about using DNA sequencing for species identification (barcoding) and phylogenies. We then continue with analyses of genetic variation within species for genetic identification of individuals, parents and populations. The third block brings up analyses of coding genes for specific traits and how to use candidate genes to find the genetics behind adaptations. We then move from single genes to genomes, introducing the microarray technique, bioinformatics and how to make use of information in large genomic databases. At the end of the course you will carry out a ten day project of your own in one of the research groups in Ecology.
There is a written exam before the start of the individual projects, and to pass the course you also have to take part in the wet and dry labs during the course period. The course will end with oral presentations of the individual projects.
For students in ecology and evolution who want to learn the basics of molecular techniques to study wild species of animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc. For students in molecular biology who want to learn how molecular techniques can be applied to ecological and evolutionary questions in non-model organisms.
The course will be given during the first part of the spring semester.