20397 Evolution

Credits: 4 advanced credits in Life Sciences

Prerequisites: Students must fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Required: Genetics 1

Recommended: Vertebrates and other intermediate courses in Life Sciences and Geology

Author: Eva Jablonka

The course discusses the theory of evolution. This theory unifies research in diverse branches of Biology by providing an underlying historical framework for all the Life Sciences.

Objectives: To analyze Biology in light of evolution, to understand the forces and mechanisms that formed and are still forming changes in the history of living organisms, and to attempt to answer questions such as: Why does the peacock have a spectacular tail? Why does the infertile worker ant feed and take care of young ants? and What caused the dinosaurs to become extinct?

Topics: The historical route of the changes that took place in living organisms on earth a historical survey of the nature and status of the theory of evolution prior to and following Darwin; hierarchic classification principles in the animal kingdom and phylogenetic systematics; paleontological findings and reconstruction of the history of life on their basis; geographic distribution patterns of groups of organisms on earth; The basic mechanisms of evolutionary change on the population level the effects of population size, reproduction strategies, population structure and natural selection on the genetic structure of the population; genetic variation in populations, variation-preserving mechanisms on the phenotypic and molecular levels; molecular evolution; The ecological context of evolution the concepts of adaptation, the unit of selection (gene, individual, group and species), speciation (the formation of new species) and macro-evolution; Research methods, findings and evidence pertinent to the evolution of the genus Homo the contribution of recent DNA studies and fossil findings in Israel to the unraveling of the origin of modern man; the evolution of language.

1or the previous version of the course, From Mendelism to Genetic Engineering.