- Flash animation
- Age level:
- 17-18 years +
- Topic area:
- Sanger sequencing method, DNA, sequencing, biotechnology, genome sequencing, HGP, gene technology
This is a Flash animation that offers a detailed overview of the processes involved in the dideoxy or Sanger sequencing method: the sequencing method used to sequence DNA in the Human Genome Project.
This animation can be used when discussing the Human Genome Project and the outcomes of this international collaboration. It demonstrates the principles and techniques involved in the Sanger sequencing method, and how the technology is involved in high throughput centres such as the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
Running the animation:
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Human Genome Project student information sheet
Student information on the Human Genome Project
DNA to Data WorksheetThis is a paper-based activity where students have to arrange stages of the DNA sequencing process in the correct order.
AnswersDownload standalone versions of the animationThese downloads are designed to be run without an internet connection.
People profile: Fred SangerNobel Laureate Fred Sanger developed the "dideoxy" chain-termination method (Sanger sequencing) for determining the sequence of nucleotide bases in DNA. This method was used in the Human Genome Project and forms the basis of today’s DNA sequencing technologies. This link provides information about Fred Sanger’s life and career.
People profile: Fred Sanger
People profile: John SulstonThis is a profile of the Nobel Laureate Sir John Sulston who was the founding director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
People profile: John Sulston
Sequencing at speedThis Flash animation provides a detailed overview of the processes involved in next generation sequencing, the main sequencing method used at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
Sequencing at speed
DNA libraries: Making a BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosome) libraryThis Flash animation provides an overview of the techniques involved in generating a BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosome) library.
DNA libraries: Making a BAC library
DNA libraries: SubcloningThis Flash animation provides an overview of the process of subcloning, one of the stages involved in the Human Genome Project.
DNA libraries: Subcloning
This activity supports the following modules on the UK curriculum.
Click on the arrows below for further detail of the module.
AQA A2 Human Biology
Unit 4: HBIO4 Bodies and cells in and out of control
3.4.4 New genes for old
Genome projects, what they tell us and what they don’t
The human genome has been sequenced.
Candidates should be aware that:
the DNA nucleotide sequences have been determined
this does not translate into a list of genes coding for proteins
there is non-coding DNA
there are regulatory genes.
The production of recombinant DNA.
The use of DNA probes.
Isolating the gene by:
creating the gene in a ‘gene machine’ or
creating the gene from mRNA or
using restriction enzymes to cut the gene from DNA.
The production of sticky ends.
The polymerase chain reaction produces larger quantities of DNA.
The transfer of recombinant DNA. The use of:
plasmids as vectors
genetic markers to detect genetically modified organisms.
The role of gene libraries.
AQA A2 Biology
Unit 5: BIOL5 Control in cells and in organisms.
3.5.8 Gene cloning technologies allow study and alteration of gene function in order to better understand organism function and to design new industrial and medical processes.
Gene cloning and transfer
Fragments of DNA can be produced by:
conversion of mRNA to cDNA, using reverse transcriptase
cutting DNA at specific, palindromic recognition sequences using restriction endonucleases
using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to form multiple copies of DNA fragments.
Candidates should be able to:
interpret information relating to the use of recombinant DNA technology
The use of labelled DNA probes and DNA hybridisation to locate specific genes.
Once located, the base sequence of a gene can be determined by:
CCEA A2 Biology
Unit A2 2: Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends
5.4 Gene Technology
Explain the stages involved in gene transfer:
methods used to obtain donor DNA, e.g. use of restriction endonucleases and reverse transcriptase
use of DNA probes to locate the DNA fragment with the desired gene
incorporation of donor genes into a ‘vector’, e.g. bacteriophages and bacterial plasmids
transformation of recipient cells, e.g. Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae
method used to check that the recipient cell contains the recombinant DNA, e.g. use of marker (antibiotic resistance) genes
selection and cloning of transformed cells.
Understand genome sequencing projects:
genome of an organism as the complete DNA sequence (on one set of chromosomes in diploid, eukaryotic organisms)
genome sequencing as the determination of the order of nucleotides (bases) and so the genetic code
appreciate that sequencing projects have been undertaken for a range of organisms such as the virus phage, the bacterium Escherichia coli, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and humans
the Human Genome Project organised to map and sequence 3 million nucleotides in the human genome and to identify all the genes (approximately 25,000) present in it (details of the technology is NOT required)
appreciate that the creation of a genome library has implications for the study of genetic disorders and, ultimately, supports:
the use of gene therapy, e.g. to treat cystic fibrosis
genetic testing using ‘DNA chips’ to determine if an individual is a carrier of a genetic disorder, e.g. sickle-cell anaemia
improved diagnostics to test for the presence of genes that increase susceptibility of an individual to e.g. cancer or heart disease
development of ‘designer’ drugs matched to an individual’s genetic profile.
Edexcel A2 Biology
Unit 4: The natural environment and species survival
Topic 6: Infection, immunity and forensics
Describe how DNA profiling is used for identification and determining genetic relationships between organisms (plants and animals).
Describe how gel electrophoresis can be used to separate DNA fragments of different length.
Topic 8: Grey Matter
Discuss how the outcomes of the Human Genome Project are being used in the development of new drugs and the social, moral and ethical issues this raises.
IBO Biology Diploma
Topic 4: Genetics
4.4 Transcription and translation
State that, in gel electrophoresis, fragments of DNA move in an electric field and are separated according to their size.
State that gel electrophoresis of DNA is used in DNA profiling.
Outline three outcomes of the sequencing of the complete human genome.
OCR A2 Biology
AS Unit F215: Control, Genomes and Environment
Module 2: Biotechnology and Gene Technologies
5.2.3 Genomes and Gene Technologies
outline the steps involved in sequencing the genome of an organism;
outline how gene sequencing allows for genome-wide comparisons between individuals and between species (HSW7b);
define the term recombinant DNA;
describe how sections of DNA containing a desired gene can be extracted from a donor organism using restriction enzymes;
outline how DNA fragments can be separated by size using electrophoresis (HSW3);
describe how DNA probes can be used to identify fragments containing specific sequences;
explain how isolated DNA fragments can be placed in plasmids, with reference to the role of ligase;
OCR A2 Human Biology
A2 Unit F225: Genetics, Control and Ageing
Module 1: Genetics in the Twenty First Century
5.1.2 Genetic Techniques
describe, with the aid of diagrams, the technique of genetic engineering in microorganisms, including the formation of recombinant DNA in bacterial plasmids;
outline how the Human Genome Project has enabled the sequencing of human DNA and describe the possible uses of this information(HSW7a, 7b).
OCR A2 Applied Science
A2 Unit G634: Applications of biotechnology
3.15.1 The Science of Genetic engineering
Candidates need to understand the scientific background to recombinant DNA technology. This includes:
the genetic code is a degenerate, non-overlapping sequence read as triplets of bases;
proteins are synthesised inside the cell using DNA as a template;
restriction enzymes are used to cut DNA fragments and produce sticky ends;
DNA ligase is used as molecular glue to produce recombinant DNA strands;
vectors such as viruses and plasmids are used to insert genes into target cells;
the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used as a means of making large numbers of copies of DNA fragments;
how electrophoresis is used in producing gene probes
3.15.2 Use of Recombinant DNA Technology in Medicine
Discuss the potential benefits and dangers of having the human genome mapped out for each individual from birth with respect to health management and individual rights.
WJEC A2 Biology
Unit BY5: Environment, Genetics and Evolution
5.6. Applications of reproduction and genetics.
The Human Genome Project has been used to locate and sequence alleles on human chromosomes. The potential uses and abuses of this knowledge. Possibility of automated routine screening for particular predisposing genes. Ethical issues surrounding this knowledge and gene ownership.
Additional sources of information on the web for teachers and students to increase their knowledge base on DNA, gene s and genomes.
yourgenome.org – FAQs about the Human Genome Project
This web page contains the answers to frequently asked questions about the Human Genome Project. http://www.yourgenome.org/hgp/faq/faq.shtml
yourgenome.org – The Human Genome Project
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute’s yourgenome.org website provides a whole section on the Human Genome Project offering an overview of the history of the project and the different stages involved in sequencing the human genome. http://www.yourgenome.org/hgp/
yourgenome.org – Sequencing centre
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Yourgenome.org website has a dedicated section on the sequencing process. It provides information on the major stages of the process including creating DNA libraries. This offers an insight into the processes that take place in one of the world's largest high throughput sequencing centres. http://www.yourgenome.org/sc/
US Department of Energy - Human Genome Project information
This website is created by the US department of Energy who are one of the founders of the Human Genome Project. The site has a dedicated section to the Human Genome Project that covers the history of the project as well as some of the issues that have arisen as a result of the project around the ethics and medical applications of DNA and genome sequencing. http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/project/about.shtml
DNA Interactive - Sanger sequencing animation
DNA Interactive is a content-rich website created by the DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA. The website covers topics including the history, techniques, ethics and applications of genetics. This specific link offers a narrated 3D animation about Sanger sequencing: http://www.dnai.org/text/mediashowcase/index2.html?id=552
Sociedad Mexicana de Ciencias Genomicas - Sanger method animation
This narrated Flash animation gives an overview of the chemistry of the Sanger sequencing reaction. http://smcg.cifn.unam.mx/enp-unam/03-EstructuraDelGenoma/animaciones/secuencia.swf
Wellcome Trust Human Genome website
This website provides information on the Human Genome Project and its implications for health and society. It offers a range of features and news articles on some of the latest genome research. http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/