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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

  • this is an advanced course that explores developmental processes from an evolutionary perspective;
  • the theory and practice of evolutionary biology as applied to developmental systems will be covered, focussing on the evolution of a range of developmentally important events, including vertebrate limb evolution and human-specific traits; 
  • the course provide experience of problem-solving, critical analysis of research material, oral and written presentation and subject-specific computational skills

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Neil Vargesson

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

All living organisms are the products of the selective pressures that shaped the form and function of their ancestors. Evolutionary biology traces the changes that have occurred to give rise to the diversity of modern organisms. Developmental biology provides information about how tissues, organs and ultimately organisms arise from the single, fertilised egg. We can now understand how changes at the genetic level can lead to changes in cell fate and morphogenesis that allow existing structures to change and adopt new configurations. This course will show how combining the two approaches of evolutionary and developmental biology allows an understanding of the mechanisms by which organisms evolve, which cannot be achieved by either discipline alone.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour essay examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%). Continuous assessment comprises: 1 problem solving exercise.

Formative Assessment

Problem-solving sessions to give students practice in dealing with the interpretation of phylogeny data.


Problem solving questions will be discussed during a tutorial session. Feedback on problem-based learning exercise.

Course Learning Outcomes


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