This course is discontinued

BIO9280 – 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.

• A necessary knowledge base for initiating independent research in evolutionary developmental biology.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.

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.


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. Essay in week 45 counts 100%

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. 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.

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

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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