This week, as part of the Stanford Biocore curriculum for undergraduates, I taught a mini course with my lab-mate, Ben Wilson, on rapid adaptation. This course was geared toward first and second year Stanford undergraduate students focusing on key concepts that Ben and I study in our research including the definition of a hard and soft sweep, the relationship between population size and the rate of adaptation, as well as applications in drug resistance in HIV and Drosophila.
Here is the abstract for the course:
Astonishing examples of adaptation by natural selection inspire many of us to study the mysteries of biology, but how do these adaptations get there? Exactly how does HIV evolve resistance to antiretroviral drugs? Or how did humans gain the ability to consume milk from other mammals long after we finish weaning? The process of adaptation—perhaps the most fundamental process of evolution—can be surprisingly complex, so we will use several case examples, candy games, videos, and computer demonstrations to understand how adaptation occurs.