Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I)

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  • Week 1: Welcome!
    • Welcome to class!

      This course will focus on two questions at the forefront of modern computational biology, along with the algorithmic approaches we will use to solve them in parentheses:

      1. Weeks 1-2: Where in the Genome Does DNA Replication Begin? (Algorithmic Warmup)
      2. Weeks 3-4: Which DNA Patterns Play the Role of Molecular Clocks? (Randomized Algorithms)

      Week 5 will consist of a Bioinformatics Application Challenge in which you will get to apply software for finding DNA motifs to a real biological dataset.

      Each of the two chapters in the course is accompanied by a Bioinformatics Cartoon created by Randall Christopher and serving as a chapter header in the Specialization's bestselling print companion. You can find the first chapter's cartoon at the bottom of this message. What does a cryptic message leading to buried treasure have to do with biology? We hope you will join us to find out!

      Phillip and Pavel

  • Week 2: Finding Replication Origins
    • Welcome to Week 2 of class!

      This week, we will examine the biological details of how DNA replication is carried out in the cell. We will then see how to use these details to help us design an intelligent algorithmic approach looking for the replication origin in a bacterial genome.

  • Week 3: Hunting for Regulatory Motifs
    • Welcome to Week 3 of class!

      This week, we begin a new chapter, titled "Which DNA Patterns Play the Role of Molecular Clocks?" At the bottom of this message is this week's Bioinformatics Cartoon.  What does a late night casino trip with two 18th Century French mathematicians have in common with finding molecular clocks?  Start learning to find out...

  • Week 4: How Rolling Dice Helps Us Find Regulatory Motifs
    • Welcome to Week 4 of class!

      Last week, we encountered a few introductory motif-finding algorithms. This week, we will see how to improve upon these motif-finding approaches by designing randomized algorithms that can "roll dice" to find motifs.

  • Week 5: Bioinformatics Application Challenge
    • Welcome to week 5 of the class!

      This week, we will apply popular motif-finding software in order to hunt for motifs in a real biological dataset.