Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Geospiza helps high schools get involved in bioinformatics

Over the past ten years, we have seen a substantial increase in the amount of data that can be obtained from biological experiments. Where once we interrogated small pieces of DNA, we now interrogate entire genomes. Not only is more data being produced, much of this data is also being made public. We see the availability of public data as a tremendous resource for learning and exploration. This summer, Geospiza will begin work with the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research and the Puget Sound Center for Learning and Technology on Bio-ITEST, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, to help high school teachers learn how to do a new kind of science and investigate these stores of public data.

Through Bio-ITEST, teachers and students, will use the GeneSifter Analysis Edition to work with molecular data from the public databases. They will compare the expression of genes under different conditions and from different kinds of cells. Learning how sets of genes are controlled, the functions of these genes within a cell, and the pathways where the genes function, will help students appreciate the richness of the molecular world and help prepare them for careers in this new age of biology.

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