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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Veronica Sandra Distilio
BIOL 489
Seattle Campus

Senior Seminar in Plant Biology

Supervised readings and group discussion. Prerequisite: BIOL 220; recommended: one upper-division course emphasizing plant biology.

Class description

This seminar on EVOLUTION OF PLANT DEVELOPMENT or PLANT "EVO-DEVO" is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, explores plant developmental biology within an evolutionary framework, from the organism to the molecular levels of organization, with examples from a variety of plants. Topics discussed include the role of polyploidy in plant evolution, the evolution of traits under domestication, evolution of sex determination mechanisms, the genetic basis of angiosperm flower diversification, evolution of leaf shape and plant-pollinator co-evolution. This seminar aims to instill an appreciation of the genetic underpinnings of plant diversity, while providing exposure to current topics in plant evo-devo, at all levels of organization. A 300-level course in molecular and cellular biology or evolution recommended (Biol 355 or 354)

Student learning goals

Learn to read the primary literature critically and effectively: distill main ideas, interpret figures and draw your own conclusions from the data presented

Understand the evolution-of-development approach in biological research.

Have a broad background in evo-devo research in plant biology in relation to similar approaches in other organisms (e.g. animal body patterning and HOX genes).

Gain an appreciation of some of the most fascinating areas of current research in plant biology, with an emphasis on the genetic basis of plant evolution.

General method of instruction

The instructor introduces the weekly topics followed by student presentations of research articles and group discussion.

Recommended preparation

BIOL 354 OR 355 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Read assigned journal articles thoroughly before class. Use background readings to help clarify concepts, look up any related articles that can help understand your assigned reading. Participate actively in discussions. Prepare your presentation with plenty of advance time, get feedback from instructor before presentation.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly readings (10-15 pages), questionnaire to assess learning at the end of each week, one individual presentation, one quiz question at the beginning of each session.

30% individual presentation (includes preparing written questionnaire for class discussion) 30 % participation in discussions/preparedness 30% weekly questionnaires and quiz question


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Veronica Sandra Distilio
Date: 03/26/2014