Lectures per week: 2+0+0
Lecturer: Katalin Pecsenye, dr. (associate professor)
Aims of the course: Molecular ecology is the interface between ecology and molecular biology. The aim of the course is to introduce the basic theories and methods of this interesting field of science.
Program of the course: The various forms of molecular variation and methods used to study them. Enzyme polymorphism. Variation at the DNA level. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. RFLP, RAPD and AFLP. Minisatellites and microsatellites. Variability at the level of individuals, molecular methods in behavioural ecology. Mating systems: monogamy, polygamy and promiscuity. Reproductive success, nest parasitism. Variability at the population level. The consequences of genetic drift: allele fixation and loss of alleles. The adaptive significance of variation. Correlation between the level of heterozygosity and fitness. The significance of genetic differentiation. How to measure genetic differentiation? Genetic distances, fixation index and Wright’s F-statistics. Equilibrium between genetic differentiation and gene flow. Effective size of populations. Habitat fragmentation and metapopulation structure. Variability at the species level. Differentiation at the species level, hybridization.
Avise JC. 1994. Molecular markers, natural history and evolution. Chapman and Hall.
Beebee T. & Rowe G. 2004. An introduction to molecular ecology. Oxford University Press.
Lowe A., Harris S. & Ashton P. 2004. Ecological genetics: Design, analysis and Application. Blackwell Science Publishing, Oxford.