Evolution and biotechnology

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Course Description

The genetic diversity of microorganisms as a resource for natural product plays a major role in the development of new biocatalysts and drugs. The novel cultivation technologies and, more importantly, gene mining by direct cloning of soil or sea DNA and screening of the resulting complex metagenomic libraries increase the discovery rate of new biomolecules. The genetic evolution in nature and laboratory has been fruitfully explored by using modern molecular techniques. Genotypic and phenotypic diversity has been found in all species at the protein, DNA, and organismal levels. This subject is directed toward studying the evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, including their size, composition, variability and organization. An understanding of the evolutionary process that leads to differences in genomes will shed light on how species themselves differentiate. Techniques of improvement of industrial organisms by the methods of mutagenesis, recombination and directed evolution are analysed. Molecular mechanisms of the cell response to stress, microbial coexistence and quorum signalisation are also studied.


  1. Explain and define the evolution and the microbial diversity in ecological niches, metagenomics, construction and analysis of metagenomic libraries and their importance for biotechnology
  2. Define and explain evolvability, a high rate of mutation and hyperrecombination in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and procedures for directed evolution
  3. Explain the evolution of RNA and DNA molecules, and describe the effect of non-coding RNA molecules and their use for metabolic optimization of industrial microorganisms, and in functional genomics as therapeutics.
  4. Enumerate and describe the molecular mechanisms of communication between cells of the same and different species of model organisms, their evolution, and application for the purpose of molecular biotechnology, biomedicine, tissue engineering and construction of biosensors.


  1. Fox C.W. and Wolf J.B. (2006)  Evolutionary Genetics: Concepts and Case Studies, Oxford University Press,
  2. Krebs J.E. et al. (2014) Lewin's GENES XI, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, USA
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