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Theory, models and scientific explanations in evolutionary genetics

You can refer to the EvoGem website

Master in Life Science, ENS
BIO_M2_E42 | EVO | Theory, and models in evolutionary biology
Year and Semester : M2 | S1
Where : MNHN
Duration : 30 hours
Dates : September 23-27, 2024
Maximum class size : 26 students
This course is open to external students, contact coordinator


Sarah Samadi, MNHN
Anouk Barberousse, Sorbonne Université




Epistemology | History | Evolutionary theory | Adaptation | Speciation

Course prerequisites

There are no course prerequisites

Course objectives and description

Aims : To introduce students to evolutionary theory and current empirical approaches, taking an historical and epistemological approach. This course will introduce all of the concepts that will be developed in the 3 main UE of EvoGEM (GP, QG and ACP).
Themes : We will discuss historical and epistemological aspects of evolutionary theory, such as the structure of Darwin’s theory, the “synthetic” theory and current theoretical questions. What is a theory in evolutionary biology and how does it relate to scientific explanations ? What is a model and what is a theory ? Defining species, population, individuals, characters or genes. We will also discuss current empirical and analytical methods, such as experimental evolution, analysis of genomic data, phylogenetics and comparative biology.
Organisation : There will be five 3h lectures, each followed by 3h discussions of a research paper.


Students will be evaluated based on their attendance and active participation in the lectures (60%), as well as a written exam in December, week 50 (40%).

Course material

Lecture handouts and research paper prints will be provided to the students.