- Be exposed to the tools and databases currently used by researchers in molecular and evolutionary biology;
- Gain a better understanding of gene analysis, taxonomy, and evolution.
Context for Use
Part or all of this activity can be used in an introductory microbiology or genetics course. This activity is based on the Bioinformatics Exercise, part of Microbial Life Educational Resources. While no computer programming skills are necessary to complete the modules in this work, prior exposure to personal computers and the Internet will be assumed. The main program that you will need is an Internet browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer.
Description and Teaching Materials
This activity is based on the Bioinformatics Exercise, part of Microbial Life Educational Resources. The activity contains two modules, which may be used independently or as a whole, depending on course content and/or time constraints. These modules include:
Module 1: Sequence Taxonomy: This module will introduce you to the number and diversity of sequences in the NCBI database.
Module 2: Sequence Searching and BLAST: This module will show you how to retrieve genetic sequence data from the NCBI database that identifies a particular Wolbachia sequence.
The links to each module (above) include material and information needed to complete this activity (e.g. background information links to databases, and problem sets specific to each module).
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Download (Microsoft Word 65kB Jul26 07) this exercise as a Word document.
There are a number of online, educational resources devoted to learning bioinformatics. For details that summarize what we will cover in this exercise and more, see:
- BLAST for beginners (Helps the learner with a slide show; we will use this one!): http://www.geospiza.com/outreach/BLAST/index.html
- Similarity search (Summarizes the basic concepts and vocabulary of BLAST) http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NCBI Education (Provides educational tutorials, software, and mini-courses): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gquery/?term=bioinformatics+tutorial