Our Animal DNA

Use online bioinformatics tools to find and compare brand new genome sequences from species sequenced as part of Darwin Tree of Life.

Genomics aims to understand the biology of species by studying the DNA instructions for life. One way we can do this is to compare genes between species to determine which ones have similar function. But complete DNA codes, known as genomes, are massive and complicated. To compare these genomes, scientists need computational tools - this area of science is called bioinformatics. 

In this activity Dr Emily Perry will lead you through the computational tools scientists use to compare genomes. You’ll use Ensembl, a freely available online resource which enables scientists to look at genes and explore links between species, to find a human gene, learn about its function and export its sequence.

You’ll then use Clustal Omega, another online tool, to search for this sequence in other organisms and compare the similarities and differences. You’ll get to use real-life tools used by scientists and experience some of the activities that are part of research. Once you know how to use these tools you can compare sequences across hundreds of species' genomes, some of which might not have been studied before! 

Age: 16-19 (KS5 or S5/6)

This page was last updated on 2022-05-06

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