Whitehead Institute's One-day Workshop:

Incorporating Bioinformatics into the High School Biology Curriculum

Wednesday, August 15

10:00 am- 2:30 pm




10:00 am        Welcome and Introduction

                        Amy Tremblay, Public Programs Officer

Fran Lewitter, Director of Bioinformatics

(7th Floor Classroom)


10:30 am        Activity presentation/hands on session: Searching for Fossil Genes
                        Blast intro slides pdf                Blast intro slides ppt                Activity handout                ORF finder Activity
                        Mouse CDS                                Mouse protein                         Sequences for ORFfinder Activity

                        David Form, Nashoba Regional High School

(7th Floor Classroom)


Activity Description:

With this activity, students play the roles of producers of animal feed. They use BLAST to identify pseudogenes and compare them with their normal counterparts in humans and a variety of mammals.  The information is used to determine which of these mammals requires a source of vitamin C in their diet.  The lab is used as a springboard to discuss pseudogenes as molecular evidence for evolution. It also reinforces an understanding of the relationships between genes, proteins and traits.  


 "Searching for Fossil Genes" was developed by David Form and is routinely used in his 10th grade Biology classes.


11:30 am        Discussion

                        a.      Using this activity with students at various levels

                        b.      Extensions to this activity


12:00 pm        Lunch (7th Floor Faculty Lounge)


1:00 pm          Introduction to NCBI/Ensembl tools including BLAST and searching for genes in databases
Slides pdf                Slides pptx                Hands on

Fran Lewitter, Director of Bioinformatics

(7th Floor Classroom)


2:00pm           Discussion & Wrap-up 

 a.    Other uses for BLAST in the classroom

 b.    Strategies for incorporating Bioinformatics into the HS curriculum


2:30 pm          Adjourn

Additional printed materials
Chilean Blob Activity
Ten Simple Rules for Teaching Bioinformatics at the High School Level

Useful Links
Whitehead Bioinformatics Education
Pairwise Sequence Analysis - Global and Local
Biology WorkBench at San Diego Supercomputer Center