Function Finders: BLAST!

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

Function Finders: BLAST! introduces learners to an online scientific database used by scientists to store and study proteins. 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.

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