(in Polish) Biological Bases of Behaviour II 2500-EN-O-05-II
All animal behavior is the product of evolution. The founder of modern biology Darwin immediately realized this. He also took note that human psychological functions are products of evolution. In ‘The expression of emotions in man and animals’ he showed how similar these expressions can be between mammal species.
As all evolved through natural selection in a more or less continuous way, the behavior of animals is relevant for understanding human behavior. Ethology hence is an interesting field to learn about these continuities. After dealing with the bare bones of the theory of evolution, some key concepts and insights of ethology will be handled. Concepts such as fixed action patterns, adaptation and fitness will be introduced. Then we will explore some general patterns of answering the second most important activity of animals: finding food (and for many species: not ending up as food for another species). Socially organizing this activity for some species is essential. The core of the course will focus on the most important activity: sex and offspring. This is how genes of an animal get into the next generation, so a huge machinery of mating systems and ways of dealing with offspring has evolved. One major message of the course is that all evolutionary outcomes are liable to be temporary equilibriums full of conflicts that must be handled to survive. At all times comparisons between the behavior of humans and other animals will de leading.
We will end this brief journey by looking at some more complex human behaviors, such as the powerful communication tool of language, unique in many ways to our species. As with all scientific perspectives, there are limits to it, and we will finish by looking at some of the problems those ideas in the evolution of human behavior face.
Basic principles of genetics:
Basic knowledge on classical and molecular genetics is essential in understanding the origins of human behavior. The lecture is an introduction to molecular biology and genetics. Students will be presented with the basic terms and concepts of genetics (e.g. inheritance, gene, allele, genotype vs. phenotype) as well as the cell cycle and different types of cell division. During the course we will focus on nucleic acids (types, structure, arrangements and basic mechanisms of encoding and processing genetic information). In particular, processes of DNA replication, transcription and translation will be analyzed. In addition, mechanisms of gene regulation and expression, types of genetic mutations, their effects and DNA repair as well as the basics of epigenetics will be discussed.
The second part of the course will be dedicated to the inheritance of genetic information. Fundamental mechanism and laws of inheritance and exceptions to them will be presented. Additionally, the basic types of genetic variation and fundamentals of population genetics will be described.
Type of course
After this course the student:
should be able to describe the cell cycle and types of cell division;
should be able to determine the types, structure and location of
should be able to explain the molecular basis of transmission of
genetic information from nucleic acids to protein
should be able to list the different levels of regulation of genetic
should be able to example different types of mutations and their
should be able to distinguish between polymorphisms and mutations
should be able to analyze basic gene interactions
should be able to interpret the fundamental laws of inheritance and
will have knowledge of basic concepts in the theory of evolution,
such as natural selection, fitness, inclusive fitness, adaptation,
proximate and ultimate causes of behavior
will know basic notions in ethology and evolutionary psychology
knows systems of mating and taking care of offspring, and the
conflicts that may occur
will have knowledge of problems that the evolutionary perspective
on human behavior may encounter
For Basic principles of genetics:
A written exam (20% of questions will have an open-ended format). Open questions will have 20% weight of the final grade.
A written exam with essay questions
2 unexcused absences are allowed, additional absence are only permitted with formal excuse. Missing more than half of the lectures leads to course failure.
Students must respect the principles of academic integrity. Cheating and plagiarism (including copying work from other students, internet or other sources) are serious violations that are punishable and instructors are required to report all cases to the administration.
Information on level of this course, year of study and semester when the course unit is delivered, types and amount of class hours - can be found in course structure diagrams of apropriate study programmes. This course is related to the following study programmes:
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: