Anthropology 121T Syllabus – Spring
Genetics, natural selection, and human
Professor John Tooby
Time: Wednesday 5:00
- 7:50PM Lecture Location: Buchanan 1910 Enrollment Codes: 47720
Date/time of Midterm: Wed May 4, class time Date/time of
Final: Friday, June 10: 4:00 – 7:00
Tooby Office hours: Tue
4:00 - 5:00PM in HSSB 1010 & Wed 7:50 - 8:20PM Buchanan 1910 (until June 2)
Office (Tooby): HSSB 1010 Tooby Mailbox: HSSB Second Floor Mail Room Teaching Fellow:
Teaching Fellow email: firstname.lastname@example.org TF Office Hours: M&W 11-12:30PM in HSSB 2060
Course Web Page: http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/tooby/classes/anth121t
Please consult this web page
the familiar surface of human life lies the hidden world of genes and their
effects. We can learn a great deal
about ourselves by studying the history of genetic change from the first
appearance of life on earth to the union of sperm and egg that created each of
us. Anthropology 121T is an
introductory survey of the nature and role of genes in evolution, in natural
selection, in sexual reproduction, in living cells, in molecular machinery, in
human development, in psychology, in structuring the universal adaptive design
of brain and body, and in the creation of similarities and differences between
individuals, groups, and species.
Emphasis is placed on how the concept of adaptive function can
illuminate basic genetics, how genes operate as the blueprints for universal
human evolved design, on understanding how genes and environments interact to
cause the traits of organisms, and how sexual reproduction plays a central role
in organizing genetic phenomena and orchestrating our species' design. The course will address such questions
as: What are genes? Why did genes
come into existence? What is
sex? Why do some species reproduce
sexually, fusing genes from two parents, while others reproduce asexually? Why are there two sexes in humans? Why are there equal numbers of males
and females? Why do humans and
other animals grow old and die?
How do genes influence behavior? How does genetic kinship shape family
relationships? Why is incest
harmful? Why are people from around the world all so physically similar? This course will explain how genetic
forces are responsible for many features of human life and evolution that we
take for granted.
will be a midterm and a final examination. The final examination is cumulative, covering the entire
course. The examinations will
cover everything: the lectures, the readings, the computer demonstrations,
etc. The midterm is designed so
that it can only help: If you do worse on the midterm than on the final
examination, the midterm will not be counted, and your grade will be based
solely on your performance on the final examination. We are interested in how much you have learned by the end of
the class, not on whether you learned it by the midterm. Also, the course is not graded on the
curve: one person’s grade is not gained at the expense of others. There will be three required computer
tutorials, self-paced but starting in the fourth week. Bring Par forms and no. 2 pencils to
the midterm and the final. They
are available at the UCSB bookstore.
official prerequisites. Students
who have no previous knowledge of genetics can perform well in this course,
although some general familiarity with high school biology or basic
evolutionary concepts will make the course considerably easier.
to expect and how to study: (1) Come to lecture. (2) Read each chapter for the overall
logic of each argument, not the details. The purpose of this course is to teach
you a series of ways of thinking, derived from the logic of modern Darwinism,
which will you allow you to understand the nature of living things, the logic
of the design of all organisms, including humans, and the framework within
which they acquired their present designs. Because of this, the central emphasis of the course is
conceptual. You will do well on
the exams if you understand the concepts and logical arguments concerning each
topic (reproduction, sex, sex differences, aging, etc.), without having to
memorize every detail in the readings.
Although there is a fair amount of reading, you need only be concerned
that you understand the arguments given (and the central facts and examples
relevant to the arguments), rather than the minutiae. This is particularly true of the Klug/Cummings text: read
this for the main points only, and do not be afraid to skim. The key to the
course is attending the lectures.
The best guide to the course content is given in lectures, and many
topics are only covered in lectures.
You will not do well if you do not come to class regularly. A.S. Notes: There is an A.S. note-taker in the class, to allow
you to listen, rather than be distracted by taking your own notes. However, experience shows that these
notes work as a reminder and study tool only if you have been to the lecture,
and cannot substitute for having been to class. The AS Notes materials are not
reviewed by the instructor.
(1) The selfish gene / Dawkins, Richard Oxford University Press, 1989.
(2) Sex, evolution,
and behavior / Martin Daly, Margo
Wilson. 2nd ed. Boston: Prindle Weber
& Schmidt, c1983.
(3) Concepts of Genetics, 7th ed. / William S. Klug & M.R. Cummings. Prentice Hall, c2002.
(4) Why We Get Sick : The New Science of Darwinian Medicine / R. Nesse & George C. Williams Vintage, c1996
for Week 1: The selfish gene. pp. 1 -
65; Daly & Wilson chs. 1 - 2; Nesse ch. 1 - 2
for Week 2: The selfish gene. pp.
66-122; Daly & Wilson chs. 3 - 4; Nesse ch. 3 – 4;
for Week 3: The selfish gene. pp. 123
- 165; Klug ch. 1 (main points only); Nesse ch. 5;
for Week 4: Daly & Wilson chs. 5 - 6; Klug ch. 2 (main points only); Nesse ch. 6
for Week 5: Daly & Wilson chs.
7 - 8; Klug ch. 3 & 4 (main points only); Nesse ch. 7
Wednesday, May 4 Class time: Midterm covers weeks 1 - 5
for Week 6: Daly & Wilson 9 - 10;
Klug ch. 5 –7 (main points only);
Nesse ch. 8
should be available at the MCL by now
for Week 7: Daly & Wilson 11 - 12; Klug
chs. 8- 10 (main points
only); Nesse ch. 9-10
for Week 8: The selfish gene. pp. 166
to 201; Klug chs. 11 - 13 (main
points only); Nesse ch. 11-12
for Week 9: The selfish gene. pp. 202
- 233; Klug ch. 14 –15 (main
points only); Nesse ch. 13-14
for Week 10: The selfish gene. pp.
234 - 266; Klug ch. 25 & 26
(main points only); Nesse ch. 15
Don’t stress over the Klug & Cummings Concepts of Genetics
book: You only need to skim and
review the reading assignments in the Klug book to extract the most basic ideas
of genetics: genes are DNA, genes are linear arrays on chromosomes, proteins
are linear arrays of amino acids, 1 gene makes 1 protein, ribosomes manufacture
proteins, and so on. Use the
section headings, etc. for guidance, and do not worry about the technical
details. None of the chemistry in
the book will be required on the exams.
will also be some experiments – class projects, that, if you participate in
them, will help you understand some of the key ideas of the course, and how
evolutionary forces really do express themselves in our behavior. They will be anonymous
questionnaires. These experiments
will explore the relationship between our human-universal genetic system and our
mental machinery. Those students
who, for any reason, do not wish to participate may substitute a 1 page paper
instead on a study topic to be assigned, due on the last day of classes.
Computer Demonstrations at the MCL: There
are three computer program demonstrations that you ought to go and use at the
MCL, if you haven’t already experienced them in another class. They will be installed and available by
the end of the fourth week of class.
It shouldn’t take more than 2 hours or so of interacting with them to
get the full educational benefit.
They are not graded, but will make a large difference in how well you
understand the course and perform on the exam.
Recommended reading for advanced students:
Developmental Biology, 7th Ed. Scott F. Gilbert Sinauer Associates; 2003
VIII Benjamin Lewin
Prentice Hall 2003
Evolution. Mark Ridley
Blackwell Publishers; 3rd edition 2003
(Oxford Readers) Mark Ridley / Oxford
University Press; 2nd edition 2004
Michael R. Rose, George V. Lauder / Academic Press; 1st ed.
Games and Population Dynamics / Josef
Hofbauer, Karl Sigmund 1998 Cambridge Univ. Press 1998
By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution P.J.
Richerson & R.Boyd / Univ. of Chicago 2004
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