• Semester Offered: Spring
  • Credits: 3


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 the organs, recent genetics, genomics and embryology are becoming powerful tools to answer classical questions. The goals of this course are twofold; 1) obtain fundamental knowledge of anatomy, embryology, and the latest genomics and 2) learn how to integrate genetics, genomics and embryology to answer evolutionary questions through active discussion in the classroom. The training to discover and answer scientific questions in animal diversity will be performed at the American Museum of Natural History. This course is conducted in person (no online option).

Course Syllabus

Spring 2022 Syllabus (Spring 2024 Syllabus will be updated soon)

Course Satisfies Departmental Learning Goals

  1. Knowledge specific goals:
  • Study basic concepts and terminology of comparative anatomy, developmental biology, and evolutionary genomics.
  1.  Integrate the material from multiple courses and research:
  • Learn how to integrate genomics, genetics, and developmental biology to approach the origin of the vertebrate plan.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

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

Grading Policy

20% for Pre-Class Reading – Quizzes

20% Attendance

15% for AMNH Field Trip Presentation

15% for Exam I

15% for Exam II

15% for Final Exam

Course Materials


Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution. 7th Edition by Kenneth Kardong    

ISBN-13: 978-1259700910

Recommended (but not required)

Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution. 8th Edition by Kenneth Kardong    

ISBN-13: 978-1259700910 (required)

Developmental Biology. 13th Edition by Scott F. Gilbert and Michael J.F. Barresi

ISBN: 9780197574591 (recommended, but not required) 

Required device for attendance and mini-quiz

Canvas will be used to check attendance and conduct mini-quiz. Students should bring a laptop computer or smartphone to receive points.

Course Closed?

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


Dr. Tetsuya Nakamura