How to teach Evolution to undergraduates


At the Technion, I taught for many years a course on Evolution, of which I am very proud.

The first half introduces the main mechanisms of evolution—natural selection and genetic drift—and the second explores how evolution occurs in many topics, each of which could fill up an entire course by itself.

I’m happy to make are powerpoint slides available for everyone (links below). I think they can be used for anyone learning by themselves or setting up a similar course.

The main text is the Barton et al. Evolution book, but it is really only very loosely based upon it. There are also many influences of Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True, Stephen Stearn’s Yale course, Richard Dawkins, the work of Richard Lenski, among many others. Each lecture also summarizes a chapter of Darwin’s The Origin of Species.

  1. Introduction to Evolutionary Biology – Aristotle/Lamarck/Darwin
  2. Common Descent
  3. Genetic Variation and Genetic Drift
  4. Natural Selection
  5. Measuring Natural Selection
  6. Genome Evolution
  7. Fossil Record
  8. Experimental Evolution – The Lenski Experiment
  9. Speciation
  10. Biogeography
  11. Evolution of Development
  12. Origin of Life and Sexual Selection
  13. Human Evolution

Enjoy and feel free to contact me about it.

Itai Yanai, yanai.itai[at]