Following a general overview of the basic principles of molecular evolution, commonly used molecular techniques will be discussed in detail. Techniques are approached from a theoretical as well as utilitarian perspective and the various applications will be evaluated. The following techniques and their respective analytical methods will be covered:
• DNA and RNA extraction
• primer design and amplification (PCR)
• Amplified Length Polymorphism (AFLP)
• Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP)
• Single Stranded Confirmation Polymorphism (SSCP)
• Denaturing Gradients Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE)
• Development of clone libraries
• development and amplification of microsatellites
• use of microarrays in ecological studies.
By means of practical exercises and lab work students will familiarize themselves with the various techniques. Additionally they will be taught to analyze data (generated during lab sessions or derived from publicly available databanks) in a justified manner. Apart from phylogeny which aims to reconstruct relationships between (reproductively isolated) species, phylogeographic relationships between populations of a single species will be covered from a coalescent perspective. The course will also cover techniques which reveal relatedness and similarities between microbial communities.
Students are familiar with general concepts in biology, cell biology, and genetics.
Acquisition of a practical as well as theoretical understanding of the various molecular methodologies and analysis techniques, which are commonly used to infer relationships in evolutionary and ecological studies.