Evolutionary Biology

EC 204 / DB 209

Course link and additional details can be found here.


Important: Register for the course here.

Semester: Jan


Credits: 2:1

Course Instructors: Praveen Karanth and Kartik Sunagar

Place: Centre for Ecological Sciences (classroom and the computer lab)

Timing: Tuesday and Thursday (11 AM to 12.30 PM)

This course offers an in-depth, hands-on look at the basic principles of evolutionary biology, and discusses the recent advancements and the major ideas in the field. The course places a special emphasis on phylogenetics, population genetics and molecular evolution, and offers exposure to a wide range of theoretical and practical aspects for understanding the micro- and macroevolutionary processes that shape the diversity of life on earth.


  • UB 206 Basic Molecular Biology

  • UB305L Genetics (for BS-MS students)


Syllabus: Basic Mendelian genetics; Natural selection; units of selection; adaptation; speciation; population genetics; drift and the neutral theory; quantitative genetics; molecular phylogenetics; molecular evolution; estimating nucleotide substitutions; homologous sequences; gene trees vs. species trees; Darwinian selection at the molecular level; gene family evolution; applications of molecular phylogenetics; evolution and medicine.

Course outcomes: At the end of this course, we expect the student to have a better understanding of the different evolutionary processes that shape biodiversity. The course also addresses microevolutionary processes using quantitative genetics at the molecular level. In the practical section of the course, the students will learn how to use analytical tools to construct and interpret phylogenetic trees from molecular data and understand the evolutionary diversification of gene/protein families.

Grading policy

  • 2 assignments: 10

  • 2 exams: 40


  • Evolutionary biology. Douglas J. Futuyma (1998). 3rd Sinauer Associates Inc, Publishers, Sunderland.

  • Evolutionary Analysis, Fifth Edition by Jon Herron Scott Freeman

  • Principles of Population GeneticsHartl D. L. and Clark A. G. 3rd Edition. Sinauer Associates Inc, Publishers, Sunderland

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can UG students attend this course?

Unfortunately, no. This is an advanced graduate-level course and, hence, is only open to Master's, integrated PhD and PhD students.​

  • Where can I find the TEAMS link to the class?

A summary of the aforementioned information and the link to the course can be found here.

  • I am a Master's / integrated-PhD / PhD student at IISc. Can I audit the course?

You can audit the course but you will have to attend all classes, submit assignments and take the exam.

  • Do I need to have prior experience in programming or scripting?

While prior experience in programming, scripting and/or using Linux operating systems can be advantageous, this is not mandatory for the course.