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Molecular Evolution - #27615

5 points course, Spring 2013
Course responsible: Anders Gorm Pedersen
Course Programme, spring 2013
DTU's Studies Handbook about #27615

Next course starts on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 and runs Wednesdays from 13:00 - 17:00.

The aim of the course is to provide the student with broad knowledge in the field of molecular evolution (i.e., the evolution of DNA, RNA, and proteins), and with in-depth knowledge of model-based methods for phylogenetic tree reconstruction and hypothesis testing in an evolutionary context. Although the study of molecular evolution does require a certain level of mathematical understanding, this course has been designed to attract a diverse range of students.

Textbook:   Inferring Phylogenies by Joseph Felsenstein, Sinauer Associates, Inc., 2003
The book is now available from Polyteknisk Boghandel, DTU.


  • Brief introduction to evolutionary theory and population genetics.
  • Mechanisms of molecular evolution.
  • Models of DNA and protein substitution.
  • Reconstruction of phylogenetic trees using distance based methods, parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian techniques.
  • Advanced models of nucleotide substitution (gamma-distributed mutation rates, molecular clock models, codon models and analysis of selective pressure).
  • Statistical analysis of biological hypotheses (likelihood ratio tests, parametric bootstrapping, Bayesian statistics).

The course will consist of lectures, computer exercises, and micro-projects. The student will acquire practical experience in the use of a range of computational methods by analyzing sequences from the scientific literature.

Lectures and exercises will take place at the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Technical University of Denmark, building 208, auditorium 062.

The course will be taught in English, and is targeted on students in their 5th semester or above as well as PhD-students.

All students from DTU and other universities are welcome.

You are also welcome to contact Anders Gorm Pedersen for more information.