The course provides an advanced knowledge in the field of population genetics, which in turn can be applied to the problem of conservation of endangered species. A detailed description of the statistical methods should make clear that statistics, prior to data analysis, is an “intelligent” route choice. Special care is given to selection of the bibliography, with the aim to increase the critical mass of the graduate.
Good knowledge of genetics, mathemarics and statistics
Course contents summary
The course of “Population Genetics” is subdivided into 2 parts. The first part describes the effects of mutation, natural selection, gene flow and random genetic drift on the variation of the allele frequencies. Special care is given to human populations. The study of population is accompanished by a detailed description of a set of statistical methods such as linear and quadratic discriminant function, analysis of the principal/coordinate components, correspondence analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling.
The second part of the course concerns the conservation genetics, which is a field of study that analyzes the biodiversity from a genetic viewpoint. Conservation genetics includes the evolutionary genetics of natural populations, the estimate of the genetic diversity in species at risk of extinction, the effects of a reduction of population size on the genetic variation, the relationship between genetics and extinction, and the resolution of the taxonomic ambiguities by genetical techniques
The law of Hardy-Weinberg
Heterozyote/homoygote advantage at the CCR5 locus
Heterozyote advantage at the beta-globin locus
Identification of the thalassaemia carriers by discriminant analysis
Distance between population by the Mahalanobis index
Effects of mutation, natural selection, gene flow and random genetic drift on the allele frequencies
Microevolution and sympatric speciation in Ragholetis pomonella
Genetic variability between and within populations by the Wright fixation index
Genetic distance between populations, matrix of genetic distance, principal components analysis: genetic history of Italy, Europe, and Continents
Molecular clock and evolution of Primates
Origin of anatomically modern humans from sequence analysis of mitochondrial DNA and Alu repeats
ID: knowledge and understanding
ID: making judgements
ID: learning skills
Evolutionary genetics of natural populations
Genetics and decrease of population size
Genetics and extinction
Resolution of the taxonomic ambiguities
Forensic molecular genetics
ID: applying knowledge and understanding
ID: communication skills
D.L. Hartl, A.G. Clark, Genetica di popolazione, Zanichelli
Frankham R., Ballou J.D., Briscole D.A. Fondamenti di genetica della conservazione. Zanichelli
M.A. Joblings, M.E. Hurles, C.Tyler-Smith. Human Evolutionary Genetics., Garland Publishing, New York
Copy of the slides used duringthe course.
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral examination. What is ascertained is the ability of the student to explain, with a good care of language, both topics of population genetics and conservation genetics. The ability of the student to critically read “ad hoc” scientific literature is also evaluated.
Is appreciated a good knowledge of the English language