Biology | Biological Basis of Sex Differences
L340 | 1413 | Smith, G
Course format: Lecture: 5:45P-7:00P, TR, JH A100.
Prerequisites: None. Not open to biology majors.
Course description: Do females and males differ from each other, and
if so, how and why are they different? This course will introduce
students to approaches used to study the biological mechanisms that
contribute to male-female differences in anatomy, physiology, and
behavior. The course will address both functional
(evolutionary/ecological) and mechanistic
(developmental/physiological) explanations for sex differences.
Questions addressed will include the following: Why did sex evolve?
What evolutionary mechanisms led to differences between the sexes?
How does breeding ecology (e.g. number of mates, care of offspring)
influence sex differences? How is sex determined? What role do
hormones play in sex differences? Are there sex differences in the
brain, and if so, how do they arise and are they related to sex
differences in behavior? Is there a biological basis of sexual
orientation? The course will emphasize comparative approaches, and we
will address many of these questions in organisms ranging from yeast
Required Text: TBA
Weekly Assignments: Short in-class activities and/or homework assignments.
Exams/Papers: 3 preliminary exams + final exam. Lowest exam score dropped.