Function Finders: BLAST!

Decode DNA sequences and discover the proteins they code for using online scientific databases. 

This activity demonstrates the concept of how genes encode proteins. You use a codon wheel to translate DNA sequences into amino acid chains. Using this information, you then search for the proteins that contain those sequences using the UNIPROT database and find out what the proteins do.

DNA sequence is converted into a string of amino acids that form the functional protein. There are 20 different amino acids and the order and combinations of amino acids that make up a protein determine the protein’s unique function in the body. The human genome contains over 20,000 protein-coding genes.

A PowerPoint presentation is provided for teachers who may wish to do this activity with a class. This presentation provides an outline of how to run the activity and details of each of the proteins featured in the activity. Files are also provided so you can view the 3D structure of the proteins using the protein modelling software Rasmol.


This page was last updated on 2019-06-18