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Teaching coordinator :

Paul Rayney

Research center

Level : 1st year

Course Language : French

Term : core curriculum

Number of hours : 6

ECTS Credits : 1
EVO The evolution of biological complexity
Teaching site :
Lectures: 6 h


The course aims to introduce student to a fundamental set of ideas and theoretical concepts central to the evolution of life and the emergence of complexity. The goal is to spark interest and open eyes to the possibility of studying some of life's greatest mysteries.


In a short series of lectures, students will be introduced to ideas surrounding the emergence of life from non-life and its is sunsequent evolution. The course will begin by defining what life is (and its time-line), what evolution is (and how it works), and particularly the requirements for evolution by natural selection. We will consider energetics and how biochemistry might arise naturally from geochemistry. Particular importance will be given to how chemical gradients are coupled to the synthesis of biomolecules and how this might have all begun. Following evolution of cells, we will proceed to consider likely steps leading to emergence of the eukaryotic cell along with the energetic advantages that accrue to this cellular type. Finally, we will consider major evolutionary transitions with particular attention given to how multicellular life might have evolved from unicellular forms.

Requirements : Biology, biochemistry.

Evaluation mechanism : One essay of no more than 1,000 words (in French or English).

Last Modification : Tuesday 29 August 2017

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