D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Basic knowledge of genetics and biology
The teaching method used to enhance and optimize student learning implies classroom lectures (Power Point presentations that will be provided to students), laboratory practical classes, seminars and visits to national research institutes (6CFU). The course is structured in two parts: the first (4CFU) will consist of a series of lectures as introduction to Conservation Genetics and the second (2CFU) will be based on student projects on cases of study of the applications of conservation genetics to conserve biodiversity. Projects are selected by the students under the instructor’s guidance.
Knowledge. The course provides the acquisition of the basics of population and quantitative genetics, and of the main specific aspects of Conservation Genetics and its implementation for biodiversity conservation.
Applying knowledge and understanding. The aim of the course is to provide a basic information on conservation genetics and the basic knowledge to exploit genetics tools for biodiversity conservation, also considering the most recent innovative molecular technologies.
Cross-expertise. (i) Acquisition of skills related to the analysis of genetic data and to the development of an experimental plan to obtain the needed data to develop conservation strategies; (ii) capability of clearly and exhaustively communicate notions, ideas, problems and technical solutions to interlocutors, either professional or not, involved in the management, conservation and valorization of biodiversity and genetic resources.
Introduction to population and quantitative genetics (2 ECTS). Conservation genetics; the ‘sixth extinction’. Why conserve biodiversity? What causes extinctions? What is conservation genetics? Definition and importance of genetic diversity. Evolutionary genetics of natural populations. Phylogenetic reconstruction. Genetic consequences of small population size. Genetics and extinction. Resolving taxonomic uncertainties and defining management units. Molecular techniques in conservation genetics. Genetic management of endangered species, Captive breeding and reintroduction (2 ECTS).Student project (2 ECTS).
Learning evaluation methods
Final assessment is based on a presentation of the student project followed by an oral discussion on the contents of the presentation and related questions on topics covered during the course.
Learning evaluation criteria
The student should prove: a) knowledge of the principles of population and quantitative genetics b) knowledge of the principles and applications of conservation genetics c) ability to use molecular genetics and genomics tools for conservations genetics. To pass the oral exam, the student must demonstrate a sufficient overall understanding of the contents, suitably presented by using appropriate scientific terminology, and the ability to implement appropriate connections between theoretical principles and practical applications.
Learning measurement criteria
The final mark is attributed in thirtieths. Successful completion of the examination is assesses in grades ranging from 18/30 to 30/30 “cum laude”.
Final mark allocation criteria
The final grade will be awarded upon project presentation and following discussion. The maximum score of 30 “cum laude” is attributed when the student demonstrates complete mastery of the subject.
Richard Frankham, Jonathan D. Ballou, David A. Briscoe, 2004. A Primer of Conservation Genetics, Cambridge University Press
Thursday from 3 pm to 5 pm.