DNA and RNA encode information in the sequences of their nucleotide building blocks just as languages encode information in sequences of letters, words, and sentences. The advent of DNA sequencing technology in 1970 enabled us to decipher the sequence of nucleotides in DNA. Today, DNA sequences can be obtained from scientific journals, databases, and web sites—frequently free of charge.
Bioinformatics uses information technology, such as computers and computer programs, to study the information in DNA and proteins. In this activity you will search for the entire genetic information of an organism (also known as a genome). Then you will use bioinformatics tools to analyze the information in the DNA and conduct a restriction analysis on the computer to learn new information about the genome of the Lambda bacteriophage.
In this in silico laboratory you will:
• Find and analyze a “real” genome sequence
• Use increasingly complex computational tools to conduct bioinformatics analyses
• Associate in vitro (in the lab) with in silico (on the computer) experimentation to plan a wet lab
• Become a medical researcher and design defenses against infectious microbes
• Explore how bacteria defend themselves against bacteriophages