It's well understood in science education that students are more engaged when they work on problems that matter. Right now, Zika virus matters. Zika is a very scary problem that matters a great deal to anyone who might want to start a family and greatly concerns my students. I teach a bioinformatics course where students use computational tools to research biology. Since my students are learning how to use tools that can be applied to this problem, I decided to have them apply their new bioinformatics skills to identify drugs that work against Zika virus. We don't have the lab facilities ... Read more
Yesterday, I wrote about using the BLOSUM 62 matrix to calculate a score for matches between two proteins. Those scores give us a good start on understanding how blastp determines whether two sequences are matching by chance or because they're more likely to be related. But that's not all there is to calculating a blast score, and there's at least one other statistic to consider as well, the E value.
It all ... Read more
In which we search for Elvis, using blastp, and find out how old we would have to be to see Elvis in a Las Vegas club.
Introduction Once you're acquainted with proteins, amino acids, and the kinds of bonds that hold proteins together, we can talk about using this information to evaluate the similarity between protein sequences. We can easily imagine that if two protein sequences are identical, then those proteins would have the same kind of activity. But what about proteins that are similar in some regions, and not others, or proteins that only ... Read more