A novel, on-line bioinformatics exercise in genomics

Susan Cossetto, Abby Cuttriss, Barry Pogson


The teaching objective of the ‘Functional Genomics Lab’ is to engage the students by having them incorporate benchwork with web-based technology and analyse data in a biological context. The Functional Genomics practical involves sequencing and analysing an Arabidopsis gene. The on-line component introduces the undergraduates to a number of general and plant-specific databases, bioinformatics principles and tools. The practical is run over several sessions. The first two involve extracting and sequencing DNA to identify an ‘unknown’ gene. During the third session students analyse their sequence to predict a function and perform hypothetical experiments to test their hypotheses. Online exercises include PCR and RNAi vector design, microarray and promoter analysis using general and plant specific web-based tools.

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