GEN-50906 Capita Selecta Evolutionary Biology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. BJ Zwaan
Examiner(s)prof. dr. BJ Zwaan

Language of instruction:



The great molecular geneticist Francois Jacob wrote in 1973 that 'there are many generalizations in biology, but precious few theories. Among these, the theory of evolution is by far the most important because it draws together from the most varies sources a mass of observations which would otherwise remain isolated; it unites all the disciplines concerned with living beings; it establishes order among the extraordinary variety of organisms and closely binds them to re rest of the earth; in short, it provides a causal explanation of the living world and its heterogeneity'.

Today molecular biologists, developmental biologists, as well as ecologists, behaviourists, anthropologists, and many psychologists share Jacob's view. Moreover, evolutionary biology is increasingly recognized for its usefulness: in fields as diverse as public health, agriculture, and computer science, the concepts, methods and data of evolutionary biology make contributions to both basic and applied research.

Each student can choose an advanced topic of his/her own interest with the broad field of evolutionary biology, read relevant publications and write an essay about it. Alternatively instead of writing an essay it is also possible to develop a teaching module.

Learning outcomes:

The student will gain knowledge of and insights in recent developments and applications in evolutionary biology, and will learn to write an essay about it, or develop a teaching module.


Oral presentation and evaluation of the written essay or the developed teaching module.