B5  Bioinformatics

big ninja

Essential Idea:

Bioinformatics is the use of computers to

analyse sequence data in biological research


  • Databases allow scientists easy access to information
  • The body of data stored in databases is increasing exponentially
  • BLAST searches can identify similar sequences in different organisms
  • Gene function can be studied using model organisms with similar sequences
  • Sequence alignment software allows comparison of sequences from different organisms
  • BLASTn allows nucleotide sequence alignment while BLASTp allows protein alignment
  • Databases can be searched to compare newly identified sequences with sequences of known function in other organisms
  • Multiple sequence alignment is used in the study of phylogenetics
  • EST is an expressed sequence tag that can be used to identify potential genes


  • Use of knockout technology in mice to determine gene function
  • Discovery of genes by EST data mining


  • Explore chromosome 21 in databases (for example in Ensembl)
  • Use of software to align two proteins
  • Use of software to construct simple cladograms and phylograms of related organisms using DNA sequences