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Microbiol Educ. 2004 May;5:30-5.

A web-based comparative genomics tutorial for investigating microbial genomes.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCLA-DOE Institute of Genomics and Proteomics, Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 951570, Los Angeles, California 90095-1570.


As the number of completely sequenced microbial genomes continues to rise at an impressive rate, it is important to prepare students with the skills necessary to investigate microorganisms at the genomic level. As a part of the core curriculum for first-year graduate students in the biological sciences, we have implemented a web-based tutorial to introduce students to the fields of comparative and functional genomics. The tutorial focuses on recent computational methods for identifying functionally linked genes and proteins on a genome-wide scale and was used to introduce students to the Rosetta Stone, Phylogenetic Profile, conserved Gene Neighbor, and Operon computational methods. Students learned to use a number of publicly available web servers and databases to identify functionally linked genes in the Escherichia coli genome, with emphasis on genome organization and operon structure. The overall effectiveness of the tutorial was assessed based on student evaluations and homework assignments. The tutorial is available to other educators at

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