GEN-30806 Population and Quantitative Genetics


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. DK Aanen
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. P Bijma
dr. WF van Hooft
dr. DK Aanen
prof. dr. BJ Zwaan
Examiner(s)dr. DK Aanen
prof. dr. BJ Zwaan

Language of instruction:

Dutch and/or English

Assumed knowledge on:

MAT-15303 Statistics 1 + MAT-15403 Statistics 2.


Building on students previous practical experience with methods, this course focusses on questions of the rationale for research, or 'why'questions: why do we use certain methods and procedures in certain situations? Why do we design research to focus on one aspect of a context and not another? Why does previous research knowledge matter for designing and implementing new research? Most importantly, how do we constructively assess previous research, in order to investigate old research problems with new questions?
The main focus of this course, therefore, is on the logical application of the methods students have learned previously, to design new research that demonstrates the ability to reflect on the overall theoretical and methodological context of a research project and choose an appropriate approach based on how these are connected to each other. For both the Qualitative and Quantitative sections of the course, students will write a brief research proposal, similar in structure to the Masters Thesis proposal, that will demonstrate how they are choosing theoretical literature and methodological resources to meet research goals.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- define and describe important population and quantitative genetic concepts such as: genetic drift, natural selection, selective sweep, inbreeding, heritability and quantitative traits;
- apply these population and quantitative genetic concepts to problems related to the genetic dynamics of natural, captive and artificially selected populations;
- apply population and quantitative genetic concepts to problems related to the erosion of genetic diversity and methods for genetic conservation of populations;
- infer consequences of population history for the current genetic characteristics of populations, and vice versa, to infer population history from current data.


Lectures and tutorials. The tutorials will be devoted to problem solving, data analysis (including ICT), and case studies from the literature.


Written individual test with 10 open questions, each with multiple sub questions; each of the 10 questions counts for 10%.
The minimum mark for passing is an average of 5.5.


In contrast to previous years, now the book:
Brian Charlesworth, Deborah Charlesworth. Elements of Evolutionary Genetics. 2010. Roberts and Company Publishers (USA), 734p. ISBN: 0981519423, 9780981519425 will be used.

Compulsory for: MBIBiologyMScE: Evolution and Biodiversity6WD
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScC: Molecular Ecology6WD
MASAnimal SciencesMScA: Animal Breeding and Genetics6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScD: Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScD: Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources6WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology6WD
Restricted Optional for: WUWLBBSc Minor Wildlife Biodiversity6WD