Reproductive strategies

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
BIO/01 BIO/05 BIO/06
Learning objectives
The course will focus on sexual and asexual reproduction in land plants. In particular, the students will acquire competence on the genetics mechanism controlling reproductive strategies in Angiosperm. In particular, sex determination, self-incompatibility and fertilization control in Angiosperm will be discussed.
The course will also provide information on the diversity and evolution of reproductive strategies of animals, focusing on sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction, and on alternative mechanisms of sexual reproduction (meta-sexuality). This will allow students to obtain competences on the complex interactions between breeding strategies and evolutionary dynamics. The course will also provide information on the evolution of complex breeding cycles, on alternative mechanisms of sex determination, and on the evolution of viviparity with a special focus on vertebrates.
Expected learning outcomes
For animal reproduction, students will be able to identify the major pros and cons of sexual and asexual reproduction, to discuss the mechanisms leading to the evolution of different strategies, and to identify the evolutionary and ecological impact of these processes in animals and plants.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
Plant reproduction
The course will be focused on the male and female reproductive organ development. In particular, the formation of the gametophytes and gametes in Angiosperm will be studied.
Furthermore the fertilization process will be studied at cellular and molecular level.
The reproductive strategy adapted by Angiosperm to avoid self fertilization will be presented and discussed. Finally, alternative reproductive strategies such as apomixis and vegetative reproduction will be discussed

Animal reproduction
Sexual and asexual reproduction in animals: advantages and drawbacks. Alternative reproductive strategies: parthenogenesis, hybridogenesis, unisexual species, meta-sexual reproduction. Evolution without mating. Environmental and genetic sex determination. Complex life cycles and breeding strategies. Evolution of sterile workers in eusocial species. Evolutionary processes beyond the complex life cycles: larval stages, psedomorphosis, transition from indirect to direct development in vertebrates.
Oviparity and viviparity. Transition from oviparity to viviparity in vertebrates. Evolution of viviparity in mammals. Furthermore the fertilization process will be studied at cellular and molecular level.
Prerequisites for admission
A basic knowledge of animal and plant biology is required as well as basic knowledge of genetic and molecular biology.
Teaching methods
The subject will be presented by power point presentation. Furthermore articles or/and reviews on specific topics will be provided and discussed with the students. Occasionally, national or international experts will be invited.
Teaching Resources
Slides and videos used during the lessons will be available in Ariel.
Scientific papers and reviews on specific topics will be also provided.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The examination will be based on oral discussion on the topics discussed during the course related to both Animal and Plant Reproductive strategies.
Lessons: 48 hours
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