Genetics (447:380) or Genetic Analysis (447:384).  Developmental Genetics (447:370) recommended.

Course Description

Evolutionary origins of the vertebrate body plan are major problems in biology. While paleontology and comparative anatomy have revealed the evolutionary trajectories of organs, recent genetics, genomics and developmental biology have been becoming the powerful approaches to answer classical problems. The goal of this course is learning comparative anatomy, developmental mechanisms of organs, and methodologies to integrate genetics, genomics and developmental biology for evolutionary questions through discussion during the course. The training to discover and answer scientific problems in animal diversity will be performed at the American Museum of Natural History.

The main goal of the course is:

  • Understand the concept of comparative anatomy and evolutionary history of vertebrate body.
  • Understand the evolutionary mechanisms of vertebrate body in the light of genetics and genomics.
  • Study state-of-the-art genomics to answer evolutionary questions.
  • Learn how to integrate genomics, genetics, and developmental biology to reveal evolutionary. mechanisms.
  • Learn how to discover scientific problems from vertebrate morphology on sites.
  • Learn how to approach scientific problems and how to discuss scientific ideas.

Course Syllabus

Spring 2019 Syllabus

Course Satisfies Departmental Learning Goals

1. Knowledge specific goals: Know the terms, concepts and theories in genetics. 

  • Study basic concepts and terminology of comparative anatomy, developmental biology, and evolutionary genomics.

2. Integrate the material from multiple courses and research. That is, to think holistically and to see the whole as well as the parts.

  • Learn how to integrate genomics, genetics, and developmental biology to understand vertebrate evolution.
  • Discuss methods to approach evolutionary problems based on published scientific papers.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Daily mini-quiz and 3 exams. Pre-reading of textbooks and scientific articles before each class is necessary.

Grading Policy

20% for Pre-class reading/quizzes

20% for  Attendance

15% for AMNH field trip presentation (an alternative assignment should be arranged in advance with the instructor if a student cannot attend the AMNH trip)

15% for Exam I

15% for Exam II

15% for final exam

Course Materials

Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution. 7th Edition. by Kenneth Kardon   ISBN-13: 978-0078023026

Recommended (but not required): Developmental Biology 11th Edition by Scott F. Gilbert and Michael J.F. Barresi  ISBN-13: 978-0878939787

Other scientific articles that explain evolutionary genomics will be provided via Sakai.

Course Closed?

There is no wait list for this course. Please continue to monitor WebReg for openings.


Dr. Tetsuya Nakamura