Spring 2020 - HSCI 324 D100

Human Population Genetics and Evolution (3)

Class Number: 2170

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2020
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    EDB 7618, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Gratien Prefontaine
    1 778 782-8645
  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 202.



Human variation and human health in the context of population genetics, epidemiology, demography, and human evolution.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: An explanation of human ancestry and diversity in the context of genetic variation, evolution, demography, and epidemiology. This course has been designed to show how genetic features in an ever-changing environment have shaped human history and health.


LEARNING OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course, I anticipate that students will be able to describe the basic principles of human heredity as it relates to population genetics. Students should be able to describe the selective and stochastic forces that shape the distribution of select genetic signatures in humans. Emphasis is on the influence of climate change, factors and topography that have shaped human dispersal and demography during early and more recent human history. Students should be able to understand how evolution’s main components: genetic variation, adaption and competition, impact human health and disease, and fitness. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to apply simple mathematical principles to analyze data from population genetic studies. Discussion is designed to enhance the synthesis of information and verify the value of evidence from primary sources in the scientific literature.


  • In class quizzes -weekly or bi-weekly 20%
  • Assignments (2X) 15%
  • Exam I 30%
  • Exam 2 35%



There is no required textbook for this course. Rather, the reading material will come from several sources. PDF versions of documents will be available on Canvas.


The major source texts include:

Principles of Populations Genetics, 4th Ed. by Hartl and Clark (and the shorter version: A Primer of Population Genetics, 3rd Ed. By Hartl);

Human Evolutionary Genetics, 2nd Edition by Jobling, Hollox, Hurles, Kivisild and Tyler-Smith;

Genes, Culture, and Human Evolution: A Synthesis by Stone and Lurquin: The human Inheritance by Sykes; 

The Phylogenetic Handbook. A practical approach to phylogenetic analysis and hypothesis testing by Lemey, Salemi and Vandamme.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html