6.891 Computational Evolutionary Biology

Fall 2004

A cameleopard, also known as a giraffe.
A giraffe, also known as a cameleopard because the creature has the size of the camel, but has the skin of a leopard. (Image courtesy of Prof. Robert Berwick.)

Course Highlights

This course features extensive lab information in the labs section.

Course Description

Why has it been easier to develop a vaccine to eliminate polio than to control influenza or AIDS? Has there been natural selection for a 'language gene'? Why are there no animals with wheels? When does 'maximizing fitness' lead to evolutionary extinction? How are sex and parasites related? Why don't snakes eat grass? Why don't we have eyes in the back of our heads? How does modern genomics illustrate and challenge the field?

This course analyzes evolution from a computational, modeling, and engineering perspective. The course has extensive hands-on laboratory exercises in model-building and analyzing evolutionary data.

Technical Requirements

Java® plug-in software is required to run the Java® files found on this course site. File decompression software, such as Winzip® or StuffIt®, is required to open the .tar files found on this course site. Any text editor can be used to view the .fas and .fasta files found on this course site.

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Prof. Robert Berwick

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session