23300b Seminar

WiSe 21/22: S Molecular Phylogenetics

Thomas Borsch

Information for students

Please bring your laptop.
Zusätzliche Modulinfos: Modulbeschreibung Molecular Phylogenetics close

Additional information / Pre-requisites

Please bring your laptop.


Understanding phylogenetic relationships is of fundamental importance in biology. Today phylogenetic hypotheses enable a wide field of further themes such as character and trait evolution, tempo and mode of species diversification, taxonomic classification, and historical biogeography. This course aims at an introduction into phylogenetic theory and methods to generate molecular phylogenetic trees. The course will use selected groups of flowering plants as exemplars to reconstruct phylogenetic trees using DNA sequence data. It will start with the collection and documentation of plant material (living collection and herbarium of the BGBM) and the isolation of genomic DNA. Subsequently, laboratory steps including PCR amplification and sequencing will be carried out. The primary data (such as pherograms) will be analyzed, assembled and processed into a matrix of sequence characters. Data matrices will then be analyzed with a spectrum of methods and computer programs to reconstruct phylogenetic trees. The trees will be illustrated using software and discussed in relation to the knowledge gained on the respective study group. The course employs a mini-project approach with which participants can to a large extent generate and analyze their own data.

The lecture and seminar part will address the theory of phylogenetics (cladistics), homology and definition of characters comparing DNA and morphology, sources of molecular characters from the different genomic compartments (plastid, mitochondrial, nuclear), study design, multiple sequence alignment, models of sequence evolution, phylogenetic tree reconstruction using parsimony, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference, evaluation of node confidence, the use of phylogenetic trees to understand character and trait evolution and to inform classification, as well as current trends in molecular phylogenetics and our understanding of the evolutionary diversification of plants. While the course works with plants, the basic concepts and methods are also applicable to other groups of organisms. close

Suggested reading

V. Knoop & K. Müller (2009): Gene und Stammbäume – Ein Handbuch zur molekularen Phylogenetik. 2.Aufl. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag [ebook available through Primo/Springer: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-8274-2230-9/page/1] close

Subjects A - Z