The course is aimed at those who want to know how to use DNA that builds up our genes to see how closely different organisms are related and how to build family trees (phylogenies) around this.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a natural history museum? Or how organisms are related to one another? Or how DNA molecules can be used to tell species apart? Or why there are so many species in some places (such as tropical forests) but not in others? Are you interested in genes made of DNA sequences and how these differ within and between species? Do you want to know more about how the DNA of organisms change through time (evolution)?
Systematic biology (systematics) is the field of biology that engages with the questions raised above. This course focuses on a key component of systematics, namely the inference of phylogenies – the tree diagrams that show how species or genes are related to one another. Course contents include: model-based phylogenetic inference; multi-species coalescent; incongruence, hybridisation and paralogy; phylogenetic network analysis; advanced DNA alignment methods; basic genomic tools; confidence and support of phylogenetic hypotheses.