Evolution of Behavior

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semesters 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

1. Introduction The origins of the evolutionary studies on behaviour traits. Rudiments of genetics. Modern views of the darwinian evolution.

2.Genes and behaviour: towards the understanding of behaviour genetics Natural and experimental populations Strains - basic elements of breeding Modes of inheritance, a mendelian approach On the mechanisms of the inheritance, non-mendelian heredity

3. The evolution of behaviour organizing mechanisms. On the mechanisms of natural and artificial selection. Methodological issues. Tools of statistical analysis.

4. The genetic analysis of quantitative traits Statistical methods for the behaviour-genetic analysis Identifying genes influencing quantitative traits The genetics of stable and plastic behavioural elements

5. Diallele analysis. Polygene systems. The behaviour genetics of Drosophyla Behaviour and single gene mutations The experiments on the selection of quantitative features

6.Ecological genetics I. Studies on Drosophila. Gene-Environment-Behaviour interactions.

7. Introduction to the methods of mammalian genetics. Mating systems, seggregation, heterogenity and linkage. Behaviour genetics of Rodents. Genetic bases of strain differences, experimental paradigms.

8. Modern methods in the study of gene-behaviour intaractions. I. A methodological review. Gene targeting and protein targeting.

9. . Modern methods in the study of gene-behaviour intaractions. II. Gelelectrophoresis and methods for DNA analysis. Candidate gene-studies.

10. Genetic aspects of learning. I. How genes affect learning abilities? Invertebrate and vertebrate studies.

11. The evolution of social behaviour: the role of genes. The evolution of human social behaviour: Social attraction and attachment.

12. Behaviour evolution in dogs. Genes and domestication, genetic bases of social behaviour. Mechanisms of domestication.

13. The genetics of aggression. The behaviour organizing effects of genes. Selection processes and methods for analysis.

14. Sociobiology and evolution. Rudiments of ethogenetics. The role of inheritance in human behaviour. Twin studies and family investigations.

15. Human intelligence. Genetic bases of psychopathological syndromes. Inheritance of addictive behaviours.

  • Gould, J.L. Ethology: The mechanisms and evolution of behaviour. WW. Norton Company, 1991

  • Slater P.J.B. and Halliday, T.R. Behaviour and evolution.Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994

  • Fuller, J.L. and Simmel, E.C. Behaviour genetics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, 1983