Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to use bioinformatics in the classroom (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Bioinformatics is the process of using computers to organise, collect, analyse and understand biological data. The subject unites computers and biologists, and has huge potential in the science classroom as the majority of programs are freely available.
- BLAST to search genomes and proteomes for genes and proteins
- NCBI to find sequences for proteins and genes
- PDB to visualise 3D protein structures
Bioinformatics and the coronavirus
Download exploring the genome of SARS-CoV-2 using bioinformatics. This session introduces students (aged 15-18) to a number of tools used in bioinformatics to explore the genome of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus). There are a number of questions that students answer as they move through the session and there is an assignment at the end for them to complete. Answers are provided to questions in the notes section. The following link allows students to explore interactive models of SARS-CoV-2.
Bioinformatics practical: the Florida dentist
This practical is based on a true story about a Florida dentist accused of infecting his patients with HIV. The files below show students how to build evolutionary trees to investigate the evolution of the HIV virus in Florida. Students retrieve and align nucleotide sequences and build phylogenetic trees to determine if the Florida dentist did infect his patients.
Download the following documents (updated 9th March 2020):
- Student instruction sheet to carry out the practical. Students need access to a computer with internet. (PDF)
- HIV DNA sequences
- Original Science paper