"Using Evolution to Understand Genetics and Development"


Monday, April 14, 2014, 9:00am to 12:30pm


Harvard Medical School, TMEC 209, 260 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA


  • Dr. Elena Kramer, Bussey Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Dr. Cassandra Extavour, Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Dr. Terence Capellini, Assistant Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

Course Description:

The principles of evolution provide a powerful framework to probe and understand biological phenomenon. Many approaches in biological and biomedical research rely on an understanding of underlying evolutionary relationships, from using animal models to study human diseases to modeling tumor resistance and running sequence similarity searches such as BLAST. In this course we will discuss some of the basic concepts of evolutionary theory, and introduce a variety of approaches and tools for evolutionary analysis that can be applied to many research questions. Using examples from their own research, lecturers will highlight how an evolutionary context can inform hypotheses and guide experiments addressing basic developmental and genetic pathways. Topics will include reconstructing phylogenetic trees, searching for orthologous genes, detecting patterns of selection, and understanding and interpreting homology, gene lineage evolution, and the evolution of regulatory elements and their function(s) and consequences within selected haplotypes.


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