BIO4280 – Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Macroevolution

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course gives an introduction to developmental biology from an evolutionary perspective, and will cover concepts, methods and paradigmatic examples in the field of evolutionary developmental biology ("evodevo").

The course will cover basic developmental mechanisms based on gene regulation, cell communication, differentiation, growth, etc. It will give an overview of the ontogeny of some animal and plant groups, as well as their organ systems, in a phylogenetic and paleobiological perspective. The evolution of ontogeny and its consequences for phenotypic evolution will be discussed.

Learning outcome

After finishing this course, you should have achieved the following:

• Knowledge about the conceptual basis for evolutionary developmental biology as a research paradigm.

• Knowledge of some chosen research findings within evolutionary developmental biology.

• An understanding of how developmental, gene-regulatory and epigenetical mechanisms make possible and constrain evolution on both micro- and macroevolutionary scales.

• Knowledge about basic ontogenetic mechanisms (gene regulation, morphogenesis, pattern formation, differentiation and growth).

• A general overview of the development and body plan of some important groups of organisms.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The courses BIO4280 and BIO9280 have common admission. Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:
1. PhD students and master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
2. Other PhD students and visiting PhD students.
3. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students
4. Applicants are ranked by credits in each group; all applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally


Recommended previous knowledge

It is recommended that applicants have a good general knowledge across the field of biology. We will assume that students have basic knowledge of genetics and evolution. Knowledge of molecular and classical developmental biology will also be of use.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with BIO9280 – Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Macroevolution


The course will consist of lectures and kolloqvias and requires active attendance and student presentations.

The course will be given in week 40-45.

First lecture is mandatory.  If you can not attend the first lecture, please send a note to, before the first lecture.


The presentation must be approved to be allowed to take the exam. Written exam, 3 hours, in week 45 counts 100%

Language of examination

Subjects taught in English will only offer the exam paper in English.

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed exam at the beginning of the next semester.

New examinations are offered at the beginning of the next semester for students who do not successfully complete the exam during the previous semester.

We do not offer a re-scheduled exam for students who withdraw during the exam.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Evaluation autumn 2014

The course is lectured when there are more than 3 students registered.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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