BIOL-387 Genetic Conflict
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
You might think that natural selection, if left to its own devices, would craft perfectly fit organisms, well suited to their environment and free of any design flaws. But you’d be wrong. The reason you’d be wrong is that natural selection favors the fittest alleles of genes, and there is no guarantee that the fittest alleles of genes will produce the fittest, most-adapted organisms. Sometimes selection on genes acts at cross-purposes with selection that acts at the organismal level. In other words, what’s best for your genes might not be what’s best for you. And what’s best for one gene might not be best from other genes’ perspectives. In these cases, we have genetic conflict. This course will examine a variety of such genetic conflicts. The overarching goals of this course are: to expose students to the role that genetic conflicts have played in shaping the design of genetic systems, organisms, and biodiversity; and to appreciate the role that genetic conflicts have had in shaping evolutionary theory in the last half-century. Students will emerge from this course with a deeper understanding of genetics and evolution. 3 credits; Pre-reqs: BIOL 152 or BIOL 185
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: BIOL 152 OR BIOL 185

Sections:

BIOL-387-01 Genetic Conflict
Offered academic year 2015-2016
Faculty:
You might think that natural selection, if left to its own devices, would craft perfectly fit organisms, well suited to their environment and free of any design flaws. But you’d be wrong. The reason you’d be wrong is that natural selection favors the fittest alleles of genes, and there is no guarantee that the fittest alleles of genes will produce the fittest, most-adapted organisms. Sometimes selection on genes acts at cross-purposes with selection that acts at the organismal level. In other words, what’s best for your genes might not be what’s best for you. And what’s best for one gene might not be best from other genes’ perspectives. In these cases, we have genetic conflict. This course will examine a variety of such genetic conflicts.
The overarching goals of this course are: to expose students to the role that genetic conflicts have played in shaping the design of genetic systems, organisms, and biodiversity; and to appreciate the role that genetic conflicts have had in shaping evolutionary theory in the last half-century. Students will emerge from this course with a deeper understanding of genetics and evolution.
3 credits
Pre-reqs: BIOL-152 or BIOL-185
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: BIOL 152 OR BIOL 185
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