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Molecular Ecology and Evolution BIOR25

15 credits

Students testing in lab. Photo.

Molecular DNA techniques are nowadays widely used and instrumental tools in a wide range of applications from conservation biology to evolutionary ecology.

You will learn how to use such methods, in the lab and in computer-based analyses, and to read scientific papers using molecular techniques. It is a practically oriented course providing the basics for DNA analyses in any kind of free-living organism. After completing the course, we expect that you are:

  • Familiar with basic PCR and Sanger sequencing protocols
  • Know how these can be applied to any type of organism
  • Experienced with basic phylogenetic and population genetic analyses
  • Know the molecular genetic basis of phenotypic variation and how selection acts at the molecular genetic level
  • Understand scientific papers based on molecular methods
  • Aware of techniques involving high-throughput sequencing

Computer programs that will be used include:

  • Geneious
  • BioEdit
  • MEGA
  • DNAsp

The course starts with basic lectures of methods and concepts in genetics and molecular ecology. The course is organized in four blocks. The first block is about using DNA sequencing for species identification (barcoding) and phylogenies. We then continue with analyses of variation within species for genetic identification of individuals, parents, populations and analyses inferring the evolutionary history of species (phylogeography). The third block is focusing on coding DNA that connects the genotype to the phenotype. Within this block there is an individual literature project. At the end of the course, the fourth block, you will carry out a ten-day project in small groups (2-3 students) in one of the research groups at the Department of Biology.


There is a written exam before the start of the research projects, and to pass the course you also have to take part in the wet and dry labs during the course period. The course will end with oral presentations of the research projects.


For students in ecology and evolution who want to learn the basics of molecular techniques to study wild species of animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc. For students in molecular biology who want to learn how molecular techniques can be applied to ecological and evolutionary questions in non-model organisms.



Lotta Persmark, Study advisor, biology and bioinformatics

Telephone: +46 46 222 37 28
EmailLotta [dot] Persmark [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se (Lotta[dot]Persmark[at]biol[dot]lu[dot]se)