India
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Evolution: unravelling the meaning of life

In this course we will explore the concepts of evolution by natural selection and view the natural world in an evolutionary light. We will follow the development of Darwin’s theory into modern evolutionary biology.
Cory Saarinen, eLearning Team,Institute of Continuing Education, Madingley Hall, Madingley Cambridge CB23 8AQ,onlinecourses@ice.cam.ac.uk
760339

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : Humanities

Function : General

Trainer name : Dr Ed Turner

Starts on : 27th Oct 2014

Duration : 7 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

Evolution: unravelling the meaning of life
There are currently thought to be about 6 million species alive on the planet. This diversity is extraordinary, but how did all these species come to be and what causes one species to change into another? In this course we will explore the concepts of evolution by natural selection and view the natural world in an evolutionary light. We will follow the development of Darwin’s theory into modern evolutionary biology.

Aims of the course:

  • To introduce evolution by natural selection
  • To understand evolution in the light of modern genetics
  • To understand the role of sex in natural selection
  • To investigate the why survival of the fittest can lead to the development of cooperative behaviour
  • To understand the 'mystery of mysteries' - what leads to the evolution of a new species

Schedule (this course is completed entirely online):

  • Orientation Week: 27 October-2 November 2014
  • Teaching Weeks: 3 November-7 December 2014
  • Feedback Week: 8-14 December 2014

Course content overview:
During the course, we will investigate the development of the theory of evolution by natural selection. The course will begin with a general introduction of how natural selection works with examples of natural selection in the real world. It will then go on to explain evolution in the light of the modern synthesis and the development of modern genetics. During the course we will try to answer difficult questions faced by evolutionary biologists such as:

  • Why has sex evolved?
  • How can selfish genes favour the spread of altruistic behaviour?
  • How do new species come to be?
  • We will finish by taking a brief look at the tree of life, the future of species diversity, and threats to biodiversity in the modern world.

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