Biology 206 integrates the two major organizing principles of biological systems, genetics and evolution. Genes encode information influencing the phenotype from biochemistry to behaviour, while evolutionary forces shape their sequence and their expression. Evolutionary genetics covers both evolution over shorter timescales ('microevolution') and over geological timescales ('macroevolution'). There is therefore no way we can draft more than a skeleton of the topic in a semester. My goal in teaching BIOL 206 is therefore to provide an introduction to evolutionary thinking through a series of vignettes and case studies. We will address the basic theory of natural and sexual selection, genes in populations, the expression of complex traits, molecular evolution, levels of organization and timescales of change and number of other topics. In each case, we'll explore concepts through experimental and comparative examples with an aim to understand not only the principles involved but how they have been arrived at and by whom. I will strive to teach you as much about how research is done as what has actually been done. And I will try to convince you that evolutionary genetics as a field is the most profound and significant in all of Science. No other discipline comes close to addressing as many essential and exciting philosophical and empirical topics.
- Adam Chippindale
The textbook accompaniment is Evolutionary Analysis (4th Edition) by Scott Freeman and Jon Herron. It is an accessible and well-written book that most students actually enjoy reading. The fourth edition is a minor improvement over the third, and it is possible to use the earlier edition in Biology 206 with very little risk. We'll do our best to support the 3rd edition by providing page references to both editions, but there may be changes to specific sections and examples that we will not be aware of. Reserve copies of the 4th edition are available, and you may need to access them occasionally if there is new material not covered in the 3rd edition. We have seen only minor changes between editions where we have looked, but have not yet compared the editions in detail.
Prentice Hall has a website for the text which includes a helpful overview of each chapter, tutorials, exercises, and supplementary material.
Check it out!
bio 206 bulletin (Winter 2011)
Welcome to Biology 206. This website is for general information about the course, the live updates, bulletins, weekly lecture notes (&c) are now available on Moodle (moodle.queensu.ca).