About the content
Life on our planet is diverse. While we can easily recognize this in our everyday surroundings, an even more diverse world of life can be seen when we look under a microscope. This is the world of microorganisms. Microorganisms are everywhere, and although some are notorious for their roles in human disease, many play important roles in sustaining our global environment. Among the wide variety of microorganisms, here we will explore those that thrive in the most extreme environments, the extremophiles.
In this course, we will discover how diverse life is on our planet and consider the basic principles that govern evolution. We will also learn how we can classify organisms. Following this, we will have a look at several examples of extreme environments, and introduce the microorganisms that thrive under these harsh conditions. We will lay emphasis on the thermophiles, extremophiles that grow at high temperatures and will study how proteins from thermophiles can maintain their structure and function at high temperatures.
- Basic principles of evolution
- Recognition of the diversity of life
- Methods to classify organisms
- Basic knowledge of extremophiles
- Principles that govern protein stability
Basic knowledge of biology equivalent to the junior high school level
Week 1: Evolution and the Diversity of Life
- Evolution is a result of diversification and selection
- How can we classify life?
- Phylogenetic analysis
- The three domains of life
Week 2: Life in Boiling Water
- Extreme environments
- More hyperthermophiles
- Thermostable proteins from hyperthermophiles
Week 3: Diversity of Extremophiles
- Preparing for a hot reaction
- Watching a hot reaction
- More extremophiles
Week 4: Genome Sequences
- What they tell us
- How can we use them?
- Using the genome to find new metabolic pathways | Part 1 and Part 2
- Diversity of the microbial world
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