UE Evolution and development of Eukaryotes

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Degrees incorporating this pedagocial element :


14 Lectures or Seminars + 10 Tutorials for papers analysis (3 students per tutorial, papers given a week in advance).

The main theme of this course is centred on how regulatory networks and specific patterns of gene expression shape development and have evolved in animal and plant kingdoms.

On the animal side, you will hear about basic concepts of early evolution of metazoan development and body plans in Arthropods; we will analyse the role of neural crest in vertebrate segmentation and head patterning, and discuss developmental mechanisms of evolutionary change.

On the Plant front, developmental genetics of plant speciation, evolution of flower development, and molecular mechanisms generating flower diversity and underlying plant domestication will be the major topics.

Overall, this Evo-Devo course will give an overview, through the examples of various developmental models, of how shaping/reshaping of genes and genomes drove the diversity represented along the tree of life and conducted to present-day organisms living on earth.

The teaching team consists of local, national and international specialists in their field who will present the topics they are passionate about.

Targeted skills

After this module, the students should be able to:

  1. recapitulate the main innovations that drove developmental patterning in both the animal and plant kingdoms, as illustrated through models described in the lectures;
  2. describe some important networks/key factors (genetic and epigenetic) involved in development and evolution;
  3. explain an experimental strategy used in a scientific study, analyze results and conclude from them on the key discoveries;
  4. be critical about questions addressed by a study, as well as approaches, in link with the state-of-the art;
  5. be able to propose experimental strategies to answer questions related to development and evolution.