This short course explores the evolution of sexual reproduction as an alternative to nature’s original means of propagating genes (asexual cloning). We’ll explore why sex evolved, weighing the benefits and liabilities associated with sexual reproduction. We will also look at the diversity of sexual strategies employed across all kingdoms of life. The course will conclude by looking at the sexual behavior of humans and our closest primate relatives.
Who Might Be Interested In This Course?
Do you want to learn about evolution, but don’t have room in your schedule for a full 3-credit course? Are you curious about the range of sexual behaviors found in the living world? Do you wonder what can be learned about human sexual behavior from the perspective of evolutionary biology? Are you looking to complement the perspective of other courses you may have taken that investigate the nature of human sexual behavior (such as Psychology of Gender/Sex Roles, or Introduction to Feminism)? If so, you will likely enjoy the diverse reproductive journey provided by this class. Although this class is only worth two credits, it is more academically demanding than my introductory course in Evolution (MSCI-260), and asks that students do slightly more independent thought and work. The majority of your grade will be based on a final paper, which challenges you to investigate the reproductive system of a particular species. I also ask that students engage in regular discussions, often in small groups, so you should be prepared to be actively involved during class sessions. The Evolution of Sex requires a significant amount of reading (see the syllabus below for details), so you should be prepared to allocate at least three hours a week to reading for this course.
What Background Should I Have Before I Take This Course?
This course assumes that you have a basic understanding of evolutionary biology and strong understanding of high school-level biology. It is advised (though not required) that you take MSCI-260 (Evolution) before taking this course.
MSCI-362 (The Evolution of Sex) Course Syllabus MSCI-362 (The Evolution of Sex) Midterm Paper Guidelines MSCI-362 (The Evolution of Sex) Final Project Guidelines
You can check out exemplary Final Projects on the Evolution of Sex student work page.