STEB: Beginner


Welcome to our STEB correspondence seminar! You're about to be introduced to 5 series in different areas of evolutionary biology that will not only introduce you to many new interesting facts and connections, but also help you better understand the material you're probably covering in biology at school. We hope you enjoy the seminar, and that you do well in the competition.

Please read the rules and hints carefully before starting the competition to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

Series 1: DNA, mutations and evolutions

Deoxyribonucleic acid, double helix, the molecule of life, the recipe for all life… these are just a few names for this special molecule. We no longer see DNA just as a molecule - it has become the icon of modern biology and medicine. Discovering its structure and functions entirely changed how we think about life and nature in general.

DNA stores information about us, passing it from parents to offspring, from generation to generation. Thanks to DNA found across the realm of life scientists claim that all living organisms have a single, common origin. So how is it possible, that we observe an amazing diversity of organisms around us?

Deadline for this series is midnight, November the 6th 2022.


Series 1: Article

Series 1: Questions

Submit your answers through Google Classroom or Google Forms.

Series 1: Project

Submit your project through Google Classroom or send it to

Series 2: Genetic Basis of Traits

Individuals within a population differ in many traits, like their physical characteristics, behaviours, or susceptibility to diseases. How are these traits passed from generation to generation? How can we identify the mutations responsible for differences in traits?

In the second series, we will look more closely at genes and the ways they are inherited. We will also have a look at the emergence of genetic diseases and some approaches to deal with them.


Article of the 2nd series, together with questions and the project.

Deadline for this series is 30.12.2022.

Submit your answers through Google Classroom or Google Forms.

Submit your project through Google Classroom or send it to

Series 3: A Glimpse into the World of Human Viruses

In the past few months, you have probably heard more about viruses than you ever wished to, and your live has been more influenced by them than you ever anticipated. There are an estimated 10^(31) viruses on this planet, which infect all forms of life. They play an important role in many ecosystems and shape life on earth. While the most debated virus at the moment is undoubtedly SARS-CoV-2, in this issue, we will deliberately have a look at other viruses that infect humans, so you learn more about common features of viruses, as well as differences between them.

Series 4: The causes and consequences of sex differences

Many species of living organisms have two, sometimes very distinct, sexes. Have you ever

wondered why? Why are there two sexes and not, say, three or four?

In the third series, we will take a closer look at sexual reproduction and the reasons for the differences between males and females. You will read about evolution of sexual reproduction and mechanisms determinig sex in different organisms. We will also shortly discuss gene regulation related to sexualt reproduction.

Series 5: Complex genetics of complex traits

Many traits, such as human height or type 2 diabetes, are strongly influenced by genes, yet geneticists have struggled to find out where in the genome the responsible mutations are located. These traits, often varying on a scale, are described by a genetic theory quite different from what Mendel would have had in mind. In this issue we look at the inheritance and evolution of such traits and the large-scale initiatives to discover the genes that influence them.