The course aims to provide students with a solid theoretical basis that will enable them to understand what the organization of genomes and what are the molecular mechanisms that underlie their evolution. To the modern formulation of molecular evolution have contributed the most diverse disciplines: genetics, population genetics, molecular biology, mathematics, statistics, ecology, etc. The study of this matter allows the student to be placed in a logical perspective and unifying many of the knowledge acquired in other courses contributing substantially to understanding what a genome is, how it has become so and especially how it is evolving and the functional consequences of this genomic plasticity.

ITA: Il corso intende
fornire solide basi teoriche che permettano di comprendere
quale sia l’organizzazione dei genomi e quali siano i meccanismi molecolari
fondamentali nell’evoluzione degli stessi. Alla moderna formulazione
dell’evoluzione molecolare hanno contribuito le più diverse discipline:
genetica, genetica di popolazioni, biologia molecolare, matematica, statistica,
ecologia ecc. Lo studio di questa materia consente di collocare
in una prospettiva logica e unificante molte delle nozioni acquisite in altri
corsi contribuendo in modo sostanziale a comprendere “cosa sia un genoma
e soprattutto come sia diventato tale”.


Learning objectives and evaluation criteria

Genome Evolution is structured to
achieve some key objectives: to understand what a genome is, how it operates,
what processes affect its stability and what are the consequences of genomic

To achieve these goals, the students
are asked to familiarize with relevant terminology including specific
scientific jargon, understand the biological and molecular processes, and
critically interpret the relevant scientific literature and experimental data.

The classes are structured in three
ways: (1) formal lectures, including invited speakers that are expert
scientists in their field; (2) journal clubs, where we’ll understand, analyze
and discuss the scientific literature in the field; (3) teamwork and specific
activities toward identification of outstanding research questions and
projects’ design. The course includes 12 hours of laboratory/practical work
which will include assays and/or supervised mini research projects performed in

The final exam will require both an
understanding of the material covered during the lectures, as well as
conceptual integration of the knowledge acquired for scientific reasoning.