NTRES 3400 - Molecular Tools for Ecology, Conservation, and Natural Resource Management

Fall. 3 credits. Student option grading.

Recommended prerequisite: BIOMG 2800  or NTRES 2830  or equivalent. Co-meets with NTRES 5400 .

N.O. Therkildsen.

Molecular genetics has become one of the fastest growing fields in the life sciences, and application of molecular methods has spread to virtually all fields of modern biology. In this course, we will examine how DNA analysis and modern 'omics' technologies can be used to address important issues in ecology, conservation, and natural resource management such as identification of species, populations, and individuals, reconstruction of phylogenetic and kinship relationships, and inference of migration patterns, behavior, and abundance. The focus will be on practical applications, and students will develop both a theoretical understanding of the methods and hands-on experience with all steps from sample collection, molecular biology laboratory techniques, data analysis, and communication of results.

Outcome 1: Identify the major types of genetic variation, their function in the genome, and their utility for molecular ecological analyses

Outcome 2: Explain and perform basic molecular biology laboratory techniques such as DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis

Outcome 3: Analyze raw molecular sequence and genotyping data and interpret the results in an applied context

Outcome 4: Summarize the strengths and limitations of molecular ecological methods and identify scientific questions in ecology, conservation, and natural resource management that can be addressed with a molecular approach

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