Genomics in Education  
    Bioinformatics LabResearch Explorations in GenomicsGenomics in Education, S.C.R. Elgin  

GSC Video Tour

The Genome Sequencing Center Video Tour is aimed at increasing the scientific literacy of biology students in the technology of genomic sequencing and can be used at either the advanced high school or undergraduate level.

The video contains a guided tour of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center, providing an up-close look at the equipment used in high-throughput sequencing and includes animated explanations of the processes used to sequence genomic DNA. Other video segments include exploration of current genomic research in pathogenic bacteria through an interview with a molecular microbiologist; information about careers available at the Center presented through interviews with actual employees; and an animated explanation of the chemistry of cycle sequencing.

Additional features on the website include scripts of the video pieces, links to additional resources, and a glossary of terms.

Research Explorations in Genomics

This research-based course, Biology 4342, provides junior and senior undergraduates the opportunity to work as a research team through a large-scale sequencing project, beginning with sample preparation at the Genome Sequencing Center through sequence finishing and analysis. Past projects have included sequencing part of the chimpanzee genome and sequencing the dot chromosome of a strain of Drosophila virilis. The course is taught by faculty members from the Biology Department, Computer Science Department, and the Genome Sequencing Center.

Bioinformatics Lab

This laboratory exploration, Biology 3055, challenges students with an inquiry-based research project using web-based bioinformatics tools. This 10-hour, computer lab curriculum was developed to accompany a large lecture course in introductory biochemistry, but could be easily adapted to any course size. The students work on their own web-based investigations and present their results to each other in small groups on the last day of lab.

Washington University biology students perform several experiments in the introductory lab courses in which a critical component is generating and analyzing DNA sequence data.  Four of these labs are available to download as pdf files and are described below.

Investigating a Eukaryotic Genome:  Cloning and Sequencing a Fragment of Yeast DNA This lab provides an opportunity for students to randomly clone an fragment of the yeast genome into E. coli, then investigate what part of the genome they have cloned through sequence analysis.

Identifying Unknown Bacteria Using Biochemical and Molecular Methods Students use two different protocols, one based on sequence analysis and one based on biochemistry, to determine the identity of an unknown bacterial strain.

Investigating Gene Flow in Grasshopper Populations Students use grasshoppers collected from glades in the Missouri Ozarks to generate and analyze sequence data to determine if the grasshopper populations are becoming fragmented due to the suppression of forest fires.  Sequence data is provided here so students who do not have access to grasshoppers can still perform the sequence analysis portion of the lab.

Investigating a Mutation in HIV-1 Students use the HIV Problem Space on the BioQuest BEDROCK Website ( to investigate whether a specific HIV mutation can be correlated with a decline in immune system function.  In order to perform this analysis, students must generate and analyze multiple sequence alignments of HIV sequences generated from the ALIVE study.

Summer Research Fellows

The Summer Research Fellows program for high school science teachers provides an opportunity for teachers to participate in research projects in a faculty member's lab and to use that research experience to develop new curriculum to use in their classes and to share with other teachers. New inquiry-based curriculum materials based on the Fellows research experiences are available in web format and supported by Science Outreach.