Conservation Genetics BIOL5130

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will provide practical training in analytical methods used for identification and characterizing of biodiversity, based on DNA sequence data and microsatellite genotyping. Methods will include theory and practice involved in interpreting and correcting electropherograms from DNA sequences, interpreting and correcting microsatellite fragment-based genotyping data, methods for DNA barcoding used for identification, and population genetic analyses used to assess population structure and genetic history.


Intensive 5 day course, spread over 2 weeks. One hour of lecture, and 2 hours practical workshop per day.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses



Students will submit practical exercises to gauge their depth of understanding and engagement with the skills learned in each of the practical sessions. The work will be assessed not only on completion of the assigned tasks but on interpretation and self-reflection of the theories learned (40%). The remaining 60% will be based on an independent and evidence-based assignment (1500-2000 words) that will require integration of the knowledge and skills learned across the range of method and theories, including analytical approaches and interpretation of results in the context of the primary literature.

Course Aims

To provide practical training in and theoretical basis for basic molecular analyses used for identification and characterising of biodiversity as applied to problems in the assessment of biodiversity, including approaches to DNA barcoding for identification in population genetics analyses of population structure and genetic history at a level sufficient to perform independent analyses of real datasets. The course will also highlight recent advances in sequencing technology and approaches to genotyping, along with the new challenges that this will bring for analytical approaches.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will demonstrate competence, be able to critically discuss the underpinning theoretical background, and provide an evidence-based justification to choose the most appropriate methods to apply to particular research questions related to:

■ Basic manipulation of sequence and genotyping data using appropriate specialised software and interpretion of the patterns

■ Use of specialised computer programmes for analysing molecular data to address research problems in biodiversity and conservation


In addition, students will be able to critically discuss in depth with respect to literature:

■ The history of development of molecular techniques used in biodiversity research and the future changes that will come with continuing advances in sequencing and genotyping technology

■ The scope and limitations of the range of analytical methods used to assess biodiversity through identification

■ The theoretical basis behind the range of analytical methods available to infer population structure and genetic history using population genetics approaches

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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