Genetics and Evolution

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1. Understand the relevance of genetics in the area of Psychology;

2. Recognize the DNA as an informational molecule, synthesizing the mechanisms implied in replication, transcription and protein synthesis;

3. Understand the relevance of the variability in the human genome;

4. Understand the importance of mitosis and meiosis;

5. Characterize the normal human karyotype and identify the most significant chromosomal abnormalities;

6. Identify situations of Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance;

7. Learn the basic principles of Population Genetics;

8. Identify the main evolutionary factors;

9. Discuss general aspects of the macro-evolution of living beings, paying special attention to human evolutionary process;

10. Be aware of the importance of genetics to understand human evolution.


1. Introduction

1.1. Chronology of Genetics

1.2. Genetics as a key-science in the XXI century

2. Cellular and molecular basis of Inheritance

2.1. Nucleic Acids

2.2. From DNA to protein

2.3. Regulation of gene expression: general aspects

2.4. Mutations and polymorphisms

3. Chromosomes and cell division

3.1. Structure of the chromosomes

3.2. Cell division (mitosis and meiosis)

3.3. Numerical and structural chromosomal abnormalities

3.4. Chromosomopathies

4. Types of Inheritance

4.1. General concepts

4.2. Mendelian Inheritance

4.2.1. Autossomic

4.2.2. Heterossomic

4.3. Difficulties in determining the type of inheritance

4.4. Polygenic inheritance and mitochondrial

5. Genetics of complex traits

5.1. General concepts

5.2. Complex diseases

6. Concepts in Human Evolution

6.1. Introduction to Human Population Genetics

6.2. Main stages of human evolution

6.3. The contribution of genetics to elucidate the human evolutionary history

Teaching Methodologies

This curricular unit combines a limited number of lectures with theoretical-practical and practical sessions, based on interactive methods. Cases analysis is often used, for it provides suitable opportunities to introduce new concepts and link theory to practice and real situations.

Besides a continuous assessment, which aims to measure students’ progress throughout the course, students must do a written test on conceptual issues and a research on a certain genetic disorder.


Carey, G., 2003. Human Genetics for the Social Sciences. Sage Publications, United Kingdom. (SD 575 C273h) Com página Web Associada

Jurmain, R., L. Kilgore, W. Trevalhan & H. Nelson, 2004. Essentials of Physical Anthropology, 5ª ed. Thomson Wadsworth, California, 431 pp.

Regateiro, F. J., 2003. Manual de Genética Médica. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, 496pp. Solomon, E. P., L. R. Berg & D. W. Martin. 1999. Biology. Saunder College Publishing, Florida, 5th ed., 1232 pp.



ECTS Credits



  • Teóricas - 30 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 30 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • Frequency: 50%
  • Individual and/or Group Work: 50%