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CH927: Quantitative Biology

Quantitative Biology module content and structure

Aim: To introduce students to a variety of plant and animal experimental systems that all involve analysis of large-scale quantitative data using mathematical techniques.


  • Classical evolutionary genetics (e.g. the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium)
  • Dynamics of evolutionary processes on longer time scales, with an emphasis on Adaptive Dynamics
  • The link between evolutionary dynamics and the "systems" approach
  • The statistical basis of chormosome mapping and QTL analysis
  • Experimental approach to QTL analysis

Illustrative Bibliography:

  1. An introduction to ecological modelling: putting practice into theory. Gillman & Hails (1997). Blackwell Science.
  2. An example of population modelling in the literature (Secor et al, 2009)

Module Content and Details

Assessment will be by assignments (50%) and a final written examination (50%).

The timetable is posted online.

The module CH924 is a prerequisite for taking CH927. CH925 is also strongly advised.

Evolutionary genomics: Quantitative Trait Locus and association mapping (Dr Peter Walley)

Is it genes or the environment that governs how animals and plants develop? Both of course, but how do you understand and distinguish the components? QTL analysis and genome-wide association mapping are two techniques that, driven by recent advents in next-generation sequencing technology, can enable this. We will discuss the biology, methodology and even newer techniques such as eQTL mapping in lectures.

Lecture 1 2012/13 - Quantitative Variation

Lecture 2 2012/13 - QTLs and genetic maps

Lecture 3 2012/13 - QTL and GWAS methods

Lecture 4 2012/13 - eQTLs and networks

Lecture 5 2012/13 - QTL practical and write up 2013

QTL practical write up 2013






Population dynamics (Prof Graham Medley)

Two key concepts in analysing populations of individual organisms will be discussed. The first is that each individual is greatly affected by the state of the population (the amount of food available, the chances of finding a mate etc), and that the state of the population is determined by the individuals. As a consequence, populations are necessarily dynamic, and necessarily non-linear. The second key concept is that biology is about variability: between individuals and (in this case) between populations (and within populations over time). The mean is not as informative as the variance. Much can be learnt about the processes determining population size by studying variation. These concepts will be further explored using a Matlab simulation (asssessed).

Evolutionary genetics and dynamics, & QTL analysis (Dr Hugo van den Berg)


Being taught in 2012/13 by:

Prof. Graham Medley

Population dynamics

Dr. Peter Walley

Quantitative biology & evolutionary genomics

Dr. Hugo van den Berg

Evolutionary genetics and dynamics, & QTL analysis

If you have any questions, please contact us.