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How to Use BLAST for Finding and Aligning DNA or Protein Sequences

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How to Use BLAST for Finding and Aligning DNA or Protein Sequences

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Area of Science
What traits are heritable? How different is your DNA from a frog's, a mouse's or even your relative's? Can your genes tell doctors what is the right dose of a medicine for your body? These are the types of questions scientists are answering with genetics and genomics. By studying individual genes as well as genomes, the whole set of DNA belonging to an organism, scientists hope to get a more complete understanding of how our bodies work and develop better disease treatments. Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Imagine that a biologist arrived at your big family reunion and had no idea who were sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., but tried to sort it out by how all of you look. Just based on how you look, would s/he be able to guess whether the kid standing next to you is your sister or your cousin? The biologist might be able to make some good guesses this way, but by using samples of your family's DNA, s/he could construct your whole family tree. In this project, you'll use Web-based computer… Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
The DNA in our cells contains our "blueprints," but it's the proteins in our cells that do most of the work. The Human Genome Project has allowed us to start reading the blueprints, but we still don't understand what most of the proteins do. This is a fairly advanced project that explores ways of identifying the function of unknown proteins. Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Remember going to the doctor and getting vaccine shots? It is no fun getting poked with a needle, but fortunately, a vaccine gives you protection against a serious illness for years to come. But what about the flu vaccine? How come there is a new one every year? This science fair project will show you why. Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Imagine that a biologist arrived at your big family reunion and had no idea who were sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., but tried to sort it out by how all of you look. Just based on how you look, would s/he be able to guess whether the kid standing next to you is your sister or your cousin? The biologist might be able to make some good guesses this way, but by using samples of your family's DNA, s/he could construct your whole family tree. In this project, you'll use a Web-based… Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Woolly mammoths shook the ground of ice-age tundras for millennia, living next to saber tooth tigers and prehistoric man. Although they have been extinct for thousands of years, scientists continue to learn more and more about this mighty animal. Some of the most exciting new research is being produced by looking at DNA extracted from the hair and bones of woolly mammoths entombed in ice. In this genomics science fair project, you will use bioinformatics tools to determine the woolly mammoth's… Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
The first land animals took their tentative steps out of the ocean and onto solid ground around 365 million years ago. Over millions of years, these early ancestors developed into tetrapods, including amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. Then, around 50 million years ago, the reverse process occurred: the mammalian ancestor of today's whales returned to the ocean. In this genomics science fair project, you will use mitochondrial protein sequencing to trace the evolution of… Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Believe it or not, scientists were recently able to recover tissue from a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil! Not only were they able to purify non-mineralized tissue, but they also succeeded in obtaining partial sequence information for protein molecules in the T. rex tissue. In this genomics science fair project, you will use the T. rex's protein sequence to search sequence databases for the its closest living relatives. Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
You have probably seen figures showing how human beings are related to chimpanzees, gorillas, and other primates. In this genomics science fair project, you will use bioinformatics tools to generate your own primate family tree. Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Scientists recently found that some small drugs can stop infection by the deadly Ebola virus in its tracks. Lab researchers found that these drugs bind to a protein that the Ebola virus uses to enter our cells, and this is how infection is prevented. However, this also means that the bound protein no longer functions in our cells. How might these drugs accidentally disrupt important biological processes in our bodies? What other proteins might these drugs bind to? In this science project,… Read more
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