Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Modeling Molecular Evolution part of Teaching Genomics at Small Colleges:Genomics Instructional Units Minicollection
Biology and Computer Science majors collaborated to design and implement algorithms to model a genomic-level process: the evolution of protein-coding genes. Students had to combine their respective expertise in biology and computer science in order to successfully model this process. We used a pedagogical approach that starts with a biological question that requires a computational approach to solve. The instructors provided students with partial "starter code" that implemented part of the algorithm. Students refined and elaborated/simplified the code to more accurately model the process. They compared their output to empirical data (an alignment of HSP70 protein sequences) to determine which most closely matched their model.