Courses Catalogue

Evolutionary & Conservation Genetics

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Environmental Management, M.Sc
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Elective
PROGRAMME TYPE: Postgraduate

Course Description

The course covers concepts  of evolution and conservation genetics and their  definitions;  evidences for evolution; Lamarckism versus Darwinism; Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, types of selection; directional, stabilising and disruptive selection; The definition of conservation genetics; the concept of extinction; the factors of concern in conservation biology; case studies of the conservation of the Florida Panther; identification of populations of concern and the case study of the Gir Lions; The case studies of the red cockaded wood pecker and Hector’s dolphin; Resolution of taxonomic uncertainties- the case study of the Tuatara in New Zealand; detection of hybridization- the case study of hybridization between wolves and coyotes; DNA evidence collection and its use in wildlife forensics- case study of minke whale trade in Japan and Korea. DNA application in understanding species biology; Role of Molecular genetics in Biological conservation.


Conservation of Biodiversity does not stop at species and ecosystem but also genetic level. This course helps students internalize the evolution of species and know how important promoting conservation at genetic level is also vital. It introduces the important of storing genes to help hybridization to take place.


By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

Describe and explain the Pre-Darwinian theories of Evolution

Explain Darwin’s contribution to the current theory of evolution

Explain how Darwin’s theory explains the formation of New species

Differentiate Darwin’s theory of evolution from other theories of evolution

Explain the various evidences in support of evolution

Explain the different types of Natural selection

Describe the major genetic issues in conservation Biology

Discuss the application of genetics in the different aspects of biodiversity conservation


A student completing the course is expected to:

Explain why and how genetic factors have key importance in conservation biology;

Explain the importance of genetic diversity, and identify the phenomena that influence and maintain genetic diversity in populations;

Identify and apply appropriate statistical formulae to solve questions in conservation and evolutionary genetics;

Apply conservation genetic theory in order to propose management strategies for both wild and captive populations;

Prepare presentations (both written and oral) that synthesize information on contemporary topics in conservation and evolutionary genetics;