DNA Sequences: Alignments and Analysis

Learn how to align and analyze DNA sequences using web and software based tools to find mutations and other anomalies in genes and genomic sequences.

Created by: James Coker

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Course Description

Gene sequences and the rest of the genome play an important role in determining how an organism functions normally and reacts when situations change. DNA sequences can also be used to determine relationships between organisms and form the underpinnings of the Tree of Life. Since DNA sequences play such an important role in any organism it should not be surprising that any changes to a sequence could lead to alterations in behavior or response. For example, a small number of specific changes in DNA sequence have been shown to lead to tumor development in mammals or the production of enzymes with altered properties. One of the jobs of a bioinformatician is to help determine where these changes are in a DNA sequence and sort out in that context what effects may result, which is usually done by aligning the sequences in question. In this course, part of the Bioinformatics MicroMasters program, you will learn about the theory and algorithms behind DNA alignments, practice doing alignments manually, and then perform more complicated alignments using web and software based approaches. This course is part of the Bioinformatics MicroMaster"s program from UMUC. Upon completion of the program and receipt of the verified MicroMaster"s certificate, learners may then transition into the full UMUC Master"s Program in Biotechnology with a specialization in Bioinformatics. See the MicroMasters program page for more information.

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Instructor Details

James Coker

Dr. Coker is an associate professor and the program chair for the Bioinformatics and Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs Specializations within the Biotechnology Masterís Program at the University of Maryland University College. He was previously an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where his laboratory studied the various adaptations organisms make to thrive in extreme conditions. Before that he worked at the Center of Marine Biotechnology studying the information transfer apparatus of the halophilic archaea. He is an active member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Bioinformatic and Bioengineering Technical Committee's task force on Optimization Methods in Bioinformatics and Bioengineering. He earned his PhD from Penn State University.

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