Biology Workbench Lessons  

Angelique Bosse
Montgomery Blair High School
Silver Spring, Maryland 20901

Biology Workbench Activities:

  • Use the Ndjinn-Multiple Database Search to find the protein product corresponding to the genomic sequence that students had accessed from various gene databases.

    • Students select two species from the provided list of organisms for which the protein sequence is known. Use CLUSTAL_W Sequence Alignments to align the two selected protein sequences. Also use MSA-SHADE to do a visual comparison of the two protein sequences since the alignment score provided by the CLUSTAL_W Sequence Alignments function is not self explanatory. MSA-SHADE uses color effectively to view similarities between the aligned sequences. The highly conserved sequences are green, mostly conserved sequences are blue, and amino acids which vary are gray.

  • Sickle Cell Anemia - this disease is caused by a mutation in the beta chain of hemoglobin. The disease is autosomal recessive, which means that sickle cell patients have two abnormal copies of the gene. Abnormal hemoglobin may polymerize, especially under low oxygen conditions, and cause sickling of red blood cells. The normally doughnut-shaped red blood cells can move through blood vessels with ease. Abnormal sickle cells may get stuck in the narrow blood vessels. The inability of the blood cells to flow to the tissues deprives the tissues of needed oxygen and results in organ damage.

    • Find beta globin sequences from two different organisms. (See Directions)
    • Align the two sequences and compare/contrast them. (See Directions)
    • Align several organisms' sequences and draw rooted and unrooted phylogenetic trees. (See Directions)
    • Identify evolutionary relationships.
    • Determine the secondary structures of beta hemoglobin. (See Directions)

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